Advocacy Groups File Petition to Deny Proposed Charter, Time Warner Cable Merger

Open MIC has joined a petition to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to deny the merger of cable television company Charter Communications with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks as proposed unless a broad set of concerns are thoroughly addressed.

The FCC petition to deny was filed by Public Knowledge, a nonprofit public interest organization that promotes freedom of expression and an open Internet, and joined by Common CauseConsumers Union and Open MIC.  

The petition notes that a combination of Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House would serve approximately 19.4 million broadband customers, 17.3 million video customers, and 9.4 million voice customers across 41 states. Nationally, the firms would control approximately 18% of pay TV market share (including 35% of cable pay TV), and more than 21% of broadband market share (including 36% of cable broadband).

Among a number of concerns, the petition states, “post-merger Charter would have the incentive to discriminate against online video services that compete with its video offerings. It would also have the leverage to require payments of Internet content companies that must interconnect with it and deliver their traffic over its last-mile connections.”

Michael Connor, Executive Director of Open MIC, said “an open Internet is critical to economic growth, innovation and democratic engagement. The FCC needs to ensure that this proposed merger allows over the long-term for competition in cable TV and online programming while also protecting a diversity of information sources for consumers.”

In April of this year, cable giant Comcast Corp. called off its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable following criticism from advocacy groups and scrutiny from government regulators.