(Adds comments from Trump, FCC, Charter, background)
By Steve Holland and David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 24 U.S. President Donald Trump
on Friday touted Charter Communications Inc's decision
to invest $25 billion in the United States and a plan the
company announced before he was elected to hire 20,000 workers
over four years.
At a White House event with the second-largest U.S. cable
company's Chief Executive Thomas Rutledge and Texas Governor
Greg Abbott, Trump praised Charter for planning to close its
offshore call centers and move them to the United States.
Much of the announcement was not new. Charter said last May
that it planned to add 20,000 jobs as part of its merger with
Time Warner Cable and acquisition of Bright House Networks. As
early as June 2015, Rutledge said Charter would need an
additional 20,000 employees after those deals.
On a number of occasions, Trump has touted job announcements
at the White House that had been previously planned or announced
The company said more than a year ago in February 2016 that
it planned to close foreign Time Warner Cable call centers and
move the jobs to the United States.
On Friday, Trump said, "We're embracing a new economic model
- the American Model. We’re going to massively eliminate
job-killing regulations - that has started already, big league -
reduce government burdens, and lower taxes that are crushing
American businesses and American workers.
"You’re going to see thousands and thousands and thousands
of jobs, of companies, and everything coming back into our
Charter, which has 24 million residential and business
customers in 41 states, said on Friday it had committed to Trump
to hiring those workers within four years. It plans to invest
$25 billion in broadband infrastructure and technology in the
next four years.
In May 2016 Rutledge said in a recorded interview there
would be some overlap in management positions (after the TWC
merger) but said the company would hire about 20,000 people over
Rutledge said the broadband investment was being made "in
the right regulatory climate and right tax climate ... We’re
committed to spending that predicated on the kind of regulatory
consistency and efficiency that we expect as a country."
Charter agreed in May 2016 to make significant broadband
investment under a deal with the Federal Communications
Commission that was part of winning approval to acquire the
cable networks. At that time Charter agreed to extend high-speed
internet access to another two million customers within five
years, with one million served by a broadband competitor.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said in
a statement on Friday that the commission was "working to set
rules of the road that encourage companies to build and upgrade
broadband networks across the country." He credited the FCC's
"investment-friendly policies" in part for Charter's
The agency is considering a petition by the American Cable
Association to strike the requirement Charter extend service to
areas already served by companies because it could harm smaller
Charter also touted its plans to open a new bilingual call
center in McAllen, Texas and said it expects to employ 600 there
by the end of 2018. Plans to open a call center in Texas were
announced last October.
In December, Trump announced that telecommunications group
Sprint Corp and U.S. satellite company OneWeb would bring
8,000 jobs to the United States, and the companies said the
positions were part of a previously disclosed pledge by Japan's
SoftBank Group Corp.
In January, Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure said of
its decision to shift 5,000 call center jobs to the United
States that the company "had plans to do this for a while."
(Reporting By Steve Holland and David Shepardson in Washinggton
Additional reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York; Editing by