Zoom Telephonics Files FCC Petition Opposing Charter's Cable Modem Policies

Another cable company is being bad again........Charter Communications.

Zoom Telephonics, Inc. ("Zoom") (OTCQB: ZMTP), a leading manufacturer of modems and other communication products, submitted an FCC petition whose goal is to change Charter Communications policy so that all Charter customers can purchase cable modems from U.S. retailers and realize a reasonable savings for using their own cable modem. Zoom asks that the modems be certified by Charter under a reasonable, timely certification program with published standards that would be open to Zoom and other cable modem producers.

The petition asks that the FCC refuse to approve the proposed sale of certain Time Warner Cable and Comcast cable systems to Charter or, alternatively, that the FCC require Charter to change its policies as a condition of approval.

From June 26, 2012 until August 22, 2014 Charter's Web site stated: "For new Internet Customers and customers switching to our New Package Pricing, we will no longer allow customer-owned modems on our network." From August 2012 to date Zoom has been attempting to get Charter to change this policy in a reasonable way that provides a savings to customers who use their own cable modem, and Zoom's FCC filing yesterday is consistent with that ongoing effort.

When Charter finally changed its policy to allow certain customer-owned modems three days before the key FCC filing deadline of August 25, Charter's new program was inadequate. Charter has still not adopted certification standards that are open to Zoom and other cable modem producers, nor has Charter yet made a commitment for timely certifications under this program. Of the seventeen cable modems Charter shows as qualified for customer attachment to its network, not one is stocked by leading cable modem retailers Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot and not one has 802.11ac wireless capability. Charter still does not separately list the cost of its leased modems on customer bills, and Charter does not offer a corresponding savings to all customers who buy a qualified cable modem and attach it to the Charter network.

"We support the customer-owned cable modem programs available from Comcast and Time Warner Cable," said Frank Manning, Zoom's President and CEO. "We have urged Charter to adopt a similar program, but so far Charter has declined. Charter's moderation of its policy last Friday is encouraging, but it's not enough. We ask that Charter obey the law and FCC policy. Our request is timely because Charter will significantly increase its number of customers if the transaction involving Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter goes through. In that event Charter will go from fourth to second place on the list of largest U.S. cable Internet providers. Zoom wants to make sure that Charter becomes what it has not been, a company with a reasonable program for attachment of customer-owned cable modems to its network. That program would be good for Charter customers, U.S. cable modem retailers, and Zoom. Zoom has worked with Charter and we've seen progress, but we need to finish the job."

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Past discussions about Charter's cable modem policies: