Charter Communications will be picking up an additional 17,000 subscribers in Georgia and Alabama once the company's deal to purchase three systems from Windjammer Communications closes later this year.

The systems that will become part of Charter include Fort Benning, Ga., near Charter communities surrounding Columbus, Ga.; Fort Payne, Ala., near Charter communities surrounding Albertville, Ala.; and, Cullman, Ala., near Charter's operations in Decatur and Birmingham, Ala.

"These properties have a strong geographic link with the communities Charter has served in Alabama and Georgia for many years, and this transaction is very much aligned with our strategy of enhancing core system clusters," said Steve Apodaca, Charter's president of operations.

The systems currently offer subscribers in these areas digital video, data and phone services, but Charter said it plans on broader deployments of digital, on-demand and HD programming, as well as faster data speeds.

Charter Business will also introduce new services to the former Windjammer systems once the deal is wrapped up.

Financial terms of the acquisition weren't announced. Charter, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, expects the deal to close by the third quarter of this year.

Cable operators have been aligning their systems over the past few years in order to better centralize their operations. In October, Charter sold 36 systems, including some in Georgia and Alabama, to CoBridge Communications.

In turn, CoBridge sold two of the systems, which were located in Fort Gordon, Ga., and Troy, Ala., to Knology for $30 million last month. Knology said it bought the two systems as part of its "tuck-in acquisition" strategy since they were contiguous with its existing operations.

As for Windjammer, it sold a system in Greenwood, Ala. – with 8,000 subscribers – to Suddenlink Communications early last year. In January, Suddenlink completed a fiber-optic installation to better serve its subscribers in Greenwood.