Weekly Wrap-Up, May 29, 2015

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced her “Capito Connect” plan this week, an initiative to bring affordable, high-speed Internet to West Virginia. The plan includes three steps: (1) determining the needs of West Virginia residents, (2) creating public-private partnerships, and (3) developing innovative solutions to provide Internet. A new report from the International Telecommunication Union predicts that 44 percent of the world’s population (3.2 billion people) will be online by the end of the year.

With the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger dead, a new deal is on the horizon. Charter Communications has bid $55 billion for Time Warner Cable as well as $10 billion for Bright House Networks. Ilya Grossman discusses what, if they go through, the mergers might mean for customers. Writing for Fortune, Stacey Higginbotham argues that the deals would be a good thing for consumers.

Writing for Backchannel, Susan Crawford reflects on the changes the FCC has undergone. The Commission, she writes, “has emerged from a period of vacillation into a body that makes decisions and backs them up.”

And finally, this week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote on the need to overhaul Lifeline to ensure “it is still performing the critical function for which it was formed,” that is, to help low-income Americans afford communications technology. Traditionally used for voice services, the FCC now looks to expanding the program to be applicable to Internet service. (See a full fact sheet on the reform here.)