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March 24, 2017

Trump meets with broadband CEO, Texas gov on infrastructure

President Trump met Friday with Thomas Rutledge, the CEO of broadband provider Charter Communications, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to discuss infrastructure, according to White House staff.

After the meeting, Trump touted Charter’s Friday announcement to invest $25 billion in broadband infrastructure and create 20,000 new jobs over the next four years.

The company had previously announced its decision to hire 20,000 new workers in October and increase its staffing in America, and had been considering the moves as early as February of last year.

Trump has said that an infrastructure package is one of his major priorities. He hasn’t mentioned broadband specifically as part of the package, but Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), have said that they’re confident broadband will be a part of a package.

Democrats have said that they would also support the inclusion of broadband in an infrastructure package.

Charter didn't respond to a request for comment.

Reports earlier in the year said that Charter executives were mulling a merger with Verizon. Trump has inserted himself in merger news by threatening to block high-profile deals like AT&T’s pending acquisition of Time Warner Inc., as well as criticizing the now-completed merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal.

The Department of Justice has still not picked an antitrust chief to assess mergers and acquisitions. According to reports, billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel and Jared Kushner, an adviser to Trump who is also his son-in-law, are responsible for heading up the search.

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