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Businesses Communications The Almighty Buck IT

FCC Set To Approve Charter, Time Warner Cable Merger (dslreports.com) 44

insitus writes: The FCC is getting close to approving Charter's $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. According to a (paywalled) report in the Wall Street Journal, FCC boss Tom Wheeler is expected to circulate an order among fellow commissioners as early as this week that would approve the deal with some conditions. Those conditions would include provisions requiring Charter deliver low-income broadband to select communities. That paywalled WSJ report is here. The story's also at Ars Technica, among others. From Ars' report: If Charter's acquisitions of TWC and Bright House are approved, Charter would become the nation's second largest Internet service provider after Comcast, with the two companies controlling the majority of high-speed Internet subscriptions. Comcast struck a deal to buy Time Warner Cable in February 2014, but it failed to convince the FCC and Department of Justice to approve that merger. Among other things, the agencies were concerned that a bigger Comcast would try to harm online video providers that need access to Comcast's broadband network.
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FCC Set To Approve Charter, Time Warner Cable Merger

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  • We're just merging telecos, limiting total competition. <sarcasm> And nothing of value was lost </sarcasm>

  • by spacepimp ( 664856 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @10:29AM (#51714821) Homepage

    When there is no consequence to failing to meet the low income broadband and other conditions, then there really are no conditions whatsoever on the merger. So this is a win for industry consolidation and competition shakedown.

  • No competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @10:35AM (#51714857)

    No competition means no choice and higher prices. If you have two or three possible broadband providers that can service your business or home, consolidating 3 or 2 into 1 doesn't improve competitiveness or deliver better service; it just drives up your costs for crappy service. TWC isn't starving, neither is Charter so why do this other than to grease pockets of merger and acquisition lawyers and gouge consumers?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      charter went bankrupt a few years ago due to the crushing costs of upgrading their systems. If you think you are entitled to free or low cost broadband move to northern Europe or southeast Asia. It costs money, and lots of it, to move those bits to your house and Charter or anyone else has a right to recoup the money it invested and a reasonable return as well ... nerd entitlement issues aside. I don't think you have a very solid understanding of the way the world actually works.
      • If they are in dire straights financially, perhaps they shouldn't be going through a merger. We are getting our ass kicked in regards to broadband, and we seem to be seeing a ton of mergers.
      • Even if you disagree with the debates about internet access being a "human right" (http://www.wired.com/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/), it is hard to feel guilty over companies who have exploited their near monopoly conditions by gouging consumers with their "right to recoup investment and make a reasonable return" when that return tends to be at 97% profit margin (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/time-warner-cables-high-s_b_6642210.html).
      • charter went bankrupt a few years ago due to the crushing costs of upgrading their systems

        Oh, in that case we should definitely approve a deal that will cost them $79 billion dollars. Nothing could possibly go wrong!

  • After all, the newly merged company will be able to cut down on duplicative lobbyist staffing. Is this a win-win or what?!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I currently have TWC but I used to be a Charter customer when I lived in Texas. Charter was complete shit. I thought I had escaped that nightmare but like a supernatural serial killer in a teen camp it found me again. Time to start looking for another ISP... Done, I don't have any other options. I just have to take it up the ass and hope that they have the decency to use a little bit of lube.

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @10:49AM (#51714975)
    On the bright side, once we are left with only one commercial broadband provider in the entire country, there will be absolutely NO illusion of competition anywhere in the country. Maybe then someone will fight for more options. Or just take their big fat lobbyist paycheck and go home.
  • ... it can't possibly get worse. Honestly, all it would take to make me a happy customer is if Charter comes in and fires anyone responsible for CCI flagging every channel they legally can as CopyOnce and then stops flagging them so. Time Warner is the only cable service that does this, and the only effect it has is reducing customer choice to either renting their absolutely fucking garbage set top boxes, buying a TiVo, buying a HDHomeRun product, or using Windows Media Center.

    I'd really like to give the

  • The fewer of them there are, the easier they will be to nationalize.

  • Once all these companies 'merge' and follow the same shitty security practices, our country is going to be one ripe target for every hacker on this planet.

  • ...forbidding any "paywalled" links in summaries? They are very irritating to those of us who truly wish to research an article. Seriously, what is the point of providing citations that everyone can't verify freely?

  • The only thing that's going to bring the US out of it's 3rd world status is for the FCC to regulate Internet connections like they do POTS now. Otherwise, forget trying to do any business that requires a reliable Internet connection.
  • The FCC is getting close to approving Charter's $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

    If Charter's acquisitions of TWC and Bright House are approved, Charter would become the nation's second largest Internet service provider after Comcast, with the two companies controlling the majority of high-speed Internet subscriptions.

    The government sure seems to have a hard time recognizing when a massive corporate merger seriously endangers competition, so I've compiled this handy form for the auditors:

    Line 1. Does the word "billion" appear anywhere in the proposal? [ ]

    Line 2. Does the phrase "two companies controlling the majority" appear anywhere in the proposal? [ ]

    If you wrote down "yes" on line 1 or 2, STOP. You cannot use this form, or any other, to approve the merger, as it poses a clear existential threat to competition in t

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