DOJ, FCC Propose Conditional Approval of Charter Merger

Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement to approve Charter’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, a transaction that would create the nation’s second-largest broadband provider. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is also reviewing the deal, announced today that it is considering an order that would approve the transaction with “specific conditions,” the details of which have not been released publicly. Last year, OTI urged both agencies to closely scrutinize the deal and to reject the conditions that Charter had proposed.

The following statement can be attributed to Joshua Stager, policy counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“We are deeply concerned about this merger’s impact on the broadband market, in which consumers already endure limited choice and high prices. If approved, the deal would create a new company whose dominance over access to the Internet is rivaled only by Comcast. The duopoly power of both companies is a threat to consumers, small businesses, and the Internet economy.

Based on today’s announcement, the FCC and DOJ recognize that Charter’s proposed conditions will not sufficiently protect consumers and small businesses. The details of the FCC’s proposal have not been made public, but we urge the Commissioners to reject any order that does not aggressively and comprehensively address the deficiencies of Charter’s proposal. For example, Charter must improve its low-income service. The eligibility criteria and pricing should, at a minimum, match the FCC's recent Lifeline order.”