Charter Pushes FCC To Clear Merger With Time Warner

Advocacy groups recently warned that Charter's proposed $67 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks could leave the new company in a position to stifle competition from online video companies.

Charter is now countering that its planned buying spree "will yield significant benefits."

The company says in a new Federal Communications Commission filing that the merger will result in a host of benefits, including m&a better broadband service and new jobs.

Charter, which will be called New Charter after the acquisitions, emphasizes the company's strongest selling points for the merger: For at least three years after the deal closes, the company won't impose data caps, won't charge Netflix or other video companies extra fees to "interconnect" directly with Charter's network, and will follow net neutrality principles.

"The transaction will enable New Charter to enshrine its consumer-friendly broadband policies throughout the applicants' combined footprints," the company writes.



Charter also says in its filing that it should not be compared with Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S.

"Netflix has contended that Comcast engaged in months-long foreclosure of Netflix, which is a tactic no one alleges Charter has ever done (nor could it)," Charter writes. "And in September, Comcast began imposing usage-based billing in select cities -- something Charter does not do and has no plans to do."

Of course, Charter's promises are only good for three years, after which the company will be free to implement other policies.

That time limit has caused some concern among observers like Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who recently said he was concerned about the short lifespan of Charter's promises.

Other critics of the merger don't seem impressed with Charter's latest filing. Today, the advocacy group Free Press asked people to weigh in against the merger with the FCC.

Free Press says the merger will leave Comcast and Charter as the broadband provider for the vast majority of U.S. homes, which could result in more expensive fees. "We would be forced to pay higher prices to connect online," Free Press says in a petition drive circulated today. "Steeper prices would also mean that fewer people would be able to afford Internet access in the first place."

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