Dish recently urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject Charter's proposed $89 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, arguing that the deal would enable the broadband provider to undermine Sling TV.
Now HBO -- which recently launched the stand-alone streaming service HBO Now -- is expressing similar fears.
Representatives from HBO say in a new FCC filing that they recently met with regulators to warn that a post-merger Charter would be in a position to hinder over-the-top video services.
"The discussion focused on certain statements made by representatives of Charter, both in private interactions and in public forums, including analyst calls and television interviews," HBO's filing states. "Some of these statements raise concerns because they suggest that a combined Charter/Time Warner Cable would be inclined to take action directed at programmers ... with the purpose and/or effect of slowing down the development of OTT options to the detriment of consumers."
If the deal closes, New Charter (the post-merger name of the company) would extend its broadband footprint to almost 30% of the U.S.
For its part, Charter told regulators this week that it has no incentive to hinder online video distributors, because Web video is driving demand for high-speed broadband. "Charter views the availability of OVD services in its footprint as a benefit to Charter, its customers, and OVDs," the company writes in a new filing. (Most of that letter, like Dish's original filing, isn't publicly available -- presumably because both companies' documents reference sealed material.)
Last year, Charter promised that it will follow some of the net neutrality rules for at least three years as a merger condition, even if the regulations are vacated in court. The company also promised that it won't cap broadband data, or charge customers based on their data consumption, for at least three years. In addition, Charter said it won't charge content companies like Netflix extra fees to interconnect directly with Charter's servers.
So far, however, those assurances obviously have not convinced companies like HBO and Dish that Charter will not use its control over the broadband pipes to thwart online video competitors.