FCC chairman, DOJ sign off on Charter Communications acquisition of Time Warner Cable
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice today signal their approval of the Charter Communications’ $78-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable:
“Based on imposed conditions that will ensure a competitive video marketplace and increase broadband deployment, an order recommending that the Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks transaction be approved has circulated to the Commissioners,” Wheeler said in a statement. “As proposed, the order outlines a number of conditions in place for seven years that will directly benefit consumers by bringing and protecting competition to the video marketplace and increasing broadband deployment. If the conditions are approved by my colleagues, an additional two million customer locations will have access to a high-speed connection. At least one million of those connections will be in competition with another high-speed broadband provider in the market served, bringing innovation and new choices for consumers, and demonstrate the viability of one broadband provider overbuilding another.”
The DOJ agreement also covers Charter’s $10.4-billion take-over of Bright House Networks.
Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS, the Internet and competitive networks association, said the conditions put on the deal will make the deal more palatable.
“Americans want more broadband competition, not less,” Pickering said in a statement. “On the surface, the emergence of a larger cable company is counter to those desires, but by imposing a seven-year, settlement-free interconnection condition, one of the longest and strongest interconnection terms in recent history, Chairman Wheeler is keeping a critical bridge to competition open.”
“In conjunction with the Department of Justice, specific FCC conditions will focus on removing unfair barriers to video competition,” Wheeler said in outlining the conditions placed on the deal. “First, New Charter will not be permitted to charge usage-based prices or impose data caps. Second, New Charter will be prohibited from charging interconnection fees, including to online video providers, which deliver large volumes of internet traffic to broadband customers. Additionally, the Department of Justice’s settlement with Charter both outlaws video programming terms that could harm OVDs and protects OVDs from retaliation– an outcome fully supported by the order I have circulated today. All three seven-year conditions will help consumers by benefitting OVD competition. The cumulative impact of these conditions will be to provide additional protection for new forms of video programming services offered over the Internet. Thus, we continue our close working relationship with the Department of Justice on this review.”