Federal regulators approved a business deal that would great the second largest cable company in the United States on Monday.
Charter Communications wants to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in a deal estimated worth $65.5 million.
The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department agreed to the deal with some mandates.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said “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. 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.”
Wheeler added in a press statement “In conjunction with the Department of Justice, specific FCC conditions will focus on removing unfair barriers to video competition. First, New Charter will not be permitted to charge usagebased 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. “Importantly, we will require an independent monitor to help ensure compliance with these and other proposed conditions. These strong measures will protect consumers, expand high-speed broadband availability, and increase competition.”