Charter customers could see changes

Charter Communications customers in Glendale and Burbank could soon be getting their TV cable and Internet services from Comcast Corp. under a proposed subscriber-base swap announced Monday.

In an effort to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, Comcast, the country’s largest cable provider, has agreed to trim 3.9 million customers once the transaction has been completed, including 1.4 million existing Time Warner customers in the Midwest that would go to Charter.

Then, 1.6 million subscribers would be swapped between the two providers, giving Charter some additional Midwest patrons, while Comcast’s new clientele would include 280,000 customers in Southern California, said Charter spokesman Alex Dudley.

The agreement would boost Charter’s subscriber base from 4.4 million to 5.7 million, making it the nation’s second largest cable provider, according to a Comcast statement.

Dudley said it also makes sense for Charter to continue growing its presence in the Midwest and southeastern portions of the United States.

“We think that gives us an opportunity to enhance our efficiency,” he said.

Time Warner has about 1.5 million customers in Los Angeles, according to financial information company SNL Kagan.

If the FCC approves the acquisition, Comcast would take over Time Warner’s customer base, said Comcast spokesman John Demming.

“This will help realign our footprint to better deliver (our) technologies,” Demming added.

Comcast cable and Internet has never had a Southland presence before and it’s not clear, at this time, how the switch from Charter would be executed, Demming said.

There are still a few regulatory votes to go as well as a Comcast shareholders’ vote.

“In the coming months, Comcast will be communicating with Charter customers about the transition to Comcast and the great technology opportunities that will be provided to them,” Demming said.

Current Charter subscribers also have the option of going with another provider.

Any changes to channel lineups likely won’t affect Glendale’s own branded channel, GTV6, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

In 2010, the city won an injunction from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge against Charter when the company wanted to shuffle its channel lineup.

“There is not much here to discuss, unfortunately, and the impacts upon our operation is built in, and we obviously have prevailed in the lawsuit, and findings by the court that will transfer over,” Lorenz said.

City of Burbank spokesman Drew Sugars said he doesn’t expect any changes for the Burbank Channel if Comcast becomes a local cable provider. Like Glendale, Burbank doesn’t air in high definition and also broadcasts on Channel 6.

“I think it’s been shown that cable companies consider their HD channels as more valuable property than the standard-definition channels,” he said.


Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.


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