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Charter makes a “Bee Line” for Maine broadband customers

A fiber optic networking cable. (Stock image, Graphic by The Desk)
A fiber optic networking cable. (Stock image, Graphic by The Desk)

Charter Communications is acquiring a small Internet service provider in Maine as part of an $82 million investment in building out fiber-based services there.

In a press release issued last week, Charter didn’t disclose how much it intends to spend to acquire the assets of Bee Line Cable, a relatively small Internet service provider, but one that already operates across 300 miles of fiber optic lines in the state.

Speaking to Fierce Telecom, a spokesperson for Charter said its acquisition of Bee Line Media will give its Spectrum-branded TV and Internet service a presence in Franklin, Somerset and Penobscot Counties. The acquisition has already secured the necessary regulatory approval to go through, Charter said.

Charter will also spend $70 million to upgrade its own fiber-optic lines in Maine and has earmarked another $12 million for rural expansion.

The upgrades will allow Charter to offer Spectrum customers faster and more-resilient Internet connections, with download speeds starting around 300 Megabits per second (Mbps). Spectrum service doesn’t have data caps in Maine, and the company isn’t charging residents there a fee to lease an Internet modem.

“In today’s world, broadband isn’t a luxury — it’s fundamental for our people and our economy,” Maine Governor Janet Mills said in a statement provided by Charter. “Spectrum’s substantial investment will help thousands of Maine people gain the reliable internet connection they need to work, study, start a business, see a doctor, and keep in touch with friends and family.”

Mills said Spectrum’s commitment to building out and improving its fiber-based network will ensure that “everyone [in Maine] who wants a reliable internet connection can have one by the end of 2024.”

In Maine, Charter already serves more than 466,000 customers across 295 communities. It also employs 750 workers across the state. Those figures don’t include the households served by Bee Line Cable and the employees who work for that company.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).