DISH Petitions FCC to Deny Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger


ENGLEWOOD: DISH has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, citing substantial harm to competition and consumers.

DISH is arguing that the proposed transaction would be no better for the public interest than the one proposed between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. It also says that the merger will create a "suffocating duopoly," as two broadband providers (Comcast and New Charter) would control about 90 percent of the nation's high-speed broadband homes between them.

The petition also urges that the "top two cable providers post-merger will not need to collude in order to bring their collective weight to bear on an online video distributor (OVD). Parallel foreclosures, with one of the two following the other, would be enough for an OVD to be shut off from most of the homes in the country."

It also outlines what it identifies as three "choke points" that would come up: "The points of interconnection to the combined company’s broadband network, in effect the 'on ramp' to the New Charter network; the 'public internet' portion of the pipe to the consumer’s home; and managed or specialized service channels, which can act as super HOV lanes and squeeze the capacity of the 'public internet' portion of the New Charter broadband pipe."

Roger Lynch, the CEO of Sling TV, stated in his accompanying declaration: “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. Accordingly, I believe that the merger as currently constructed is not in the public interest and should be denied.”