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Radio News: FCC, Justice Department approves Charter Communications merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks

Apr 26, 2016 6:15 pm
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On April 25
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Justice Department announced approval of Charter Communications merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, deals valued at $88 billion. The two Internet service providers combined could control 70 percent of the nation's 25Mbps-and-up broadband subscriptions, Ars Technica reports. Last year's FCC Net Neutrality ruling considered internet service a public utility, and in this public utility, one company owns more than two-thirds of the market. The Justice Department only approved the merger with the prohibition that the combined company may not enter into anti-competive deals with programmers that would keep shows and movies off streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. The FCC says Charter agreed not to impose data caps on users for seven years, and must abide by the net neutrality rules even if the rules are overturned in a federal appeals court case. “The cumulative impact of these conditions will be to provide additional protection for new forms of video programming services offered over the Internet,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. Free Press President Craig Aaron disagreed. "Customers of the newly merged entity will be socked with higher prices as Charter attempts to pay off the nearly $27 billion debt load it took on to finance this deal," Aaron said. "Charter and Comcast now have unprecedented control over our cable and Internet connections. Their crushing monopoly power will mean fewer choices, higher prices, no accountability and no competition." The new company will be the second-largest broadband provider, with 19.4 million broadband subscribers, and third-largest video provider, after Comcast and DirecTV, with 17.3 million customers.
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