DISH outlines reasons to FCC for blocking Charter — Time Warner merger

Dish Network Sprint
DISH Network has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable.

Earlier, FCC did not approve a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

The merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable will significantly damage competitive development of over-the-top (OTT) video and limit consumer access to online video programming, said DISH Network.

The proposed transaction will not assist the public.

The transaction will create a duopoly and result in two broadband providers — Comcast and New Charter — controlling about 90 percent of the nation’s high-speed broadband homes.

The top two cable providers post-merger will not compete in the online video distributor (OVD) market in the U.S.

A significant proportion of the combined entity’s broadband users will lack access to alternative high-speed broadband options.

Charter admits that almost two-thirds of households in the New Charter footprint will not have access to at least one alternative high-speed broadband provider.

New Charter would be able to foreclose or degrade the online video offerings of competing MVPD and OTT video providers at any of three choke points: (1) the points of interconnection to the combined company’s broadband network; (2) public Internet portion of the pipe to the consumer’s home; and (3) managed or specialized service channels.

New Charter could force third-party content owners and programmers to withhold online rights from online video platforms.

DISH Networks has also found support from Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch.

“I believe that the proposed merger would cause significant and irreparable harm to emerging competitive online video products and services, as well as the performance of traditional satellite television service, ultimately reducing competition and choice for consumers,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV.

Several consumer groups — Public Knowledge, Common Cause and Free Press — have asked the FCC to block Charter Communication’s bid to take over Time Warner Cable and the smaller Bright House Networks.

“New Charter would emerge from this transaction with a whopping $66 billion in debt, a 70 percent increase above the total debt currently saddling the three companies involved in this deal,” said Free Press policy director Matt Wood in a statement.

Combined, the two deals are valued at more than $67 billion and could transform the pay-TV and high-speed Internet landscape.

The proposed consolidation, which was announced in May, would catapult Charter into the nation’s third-largest pay-TV provider.

Charter also would provide high-speed Internet service to more than one-fifth of U.S. consumers with broadband. Nationwide, the company would boast more than 19 million broadband Internet customers.

Baburajan K
[email protected]

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