Video services

Charter Shot Clock Stops, Review Continues

By all accounts, the FCC is getting close to a ruling on Charter's bid to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. But despite the 180-day shot clock winding down to its final day today, there's still no official word from the Commission. A spokesperson for the agency declined to comment "on timing or the merger as it's still under review."

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did add its own filing to the docket yesterday, however. To supplement the written public comments submitted to the FCC on the merger, legal advisor Lynne Montgomery added a letter to the record noting that the agency has also received numerous phone calls offering feedback.

"... Over the past several months the Commissioners and staff have received a number of voicemails from members of the public expressing a view on the proceeding. In general, these voicemails were opposed to the merger and expressed concerns that the merger would harm competition, cause service quality to drop, and cause prices to rise. While the callers did not officially submit these communications in the docket, we hereby document these communications for the record."

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Proponents and opponents of the merger have argued their cases strenuously since regulators started their review of the acquisition proposals last year. However, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the pro-merger camp is on its way to a victory. According to the WSJ, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will soon circulate (or may have already circulated) a draft order approving the merger with certain conditions. Among the conditions: that Charter be prohibited from restricting any content partner's ability to sell programming to online competitors.

Aside from the FCC, Charter Communications Inc. is also awaiting approval from the state of California on its proposed acquisitions of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks . That verdict is expected to be handed down on May 12.

For more on the Charter transactions, see:

  • FCC Nearing Charter Merger Approval – Report
  • Charter Plots Cloud Video, DOCSIS 3.1 Rollouts
  • Charter Acquisition Naysayers Have Their Day
  • On Paper, Support Runs High for Charter/TWC
  • Shot Clock Starts on Charter Deals
  • — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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