While Comcast's attempt to buy Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) last year produced thousands of negative public comments, the input for Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) bid to purchase both TWC and Bright House Networks has so far drawn far less inflammatory reactions.
Today there have been around 327 comments filed to the FCC relating to Charter's acquisition spree. As Light Reading earlier noted, those comments that have not been procedural in nature have mostly been positive.
Randomly pulling five entries from the library of comments, FierceCable found this sampling of support:
- "Charter's announcement today of a policy to interconnect on a settlement free peering basis with other Internet service and content providers promotes the virtuous circle of innovation that has characterized the Internet since its inception. It will allow Charter's customers to have the widest possible access to Internet services and products; in essence, it ensures freedom of choice," said Robert N. Beury Jr., chief legal officer for Cogent Communications.
- "Speaking as a private citizen of the City of Grand Junction, I believe this transaction will have several benefits for the people and businesses of our city," said Grand Junction, Colo., Mayor Martin Chazen.
- "The combined company has also committed to expanding Bright House Networks' successful low-income broadband program which gives underserved communities access to fast speeds at affordable prices. The increased broadband infrastructure will help underserved families and businesses and mitigate the gap between the digital haves and have-nots," said Frederick Watts, executive director of the Florida Police Athletic League.
- "We look forward to seeing this merger approved and realized, as it represents an exciting step forward for the economic development and quality of life in Rensselaer County and the entire Capital Region," said Linda Hillman, president of the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce.
- "I believe New Charter's commitments to several investment projects will improve my
- community through access to advanced technology. The projects would also improve broadband infrastructure and encourage economic development," said Arlan Meekhof, Senate Majority Leader of Michigan.
While the volume of comments seems in favor of Charter, support for any such merger, of course, is never unanimous.
The cheering stops, for example, with comments made early in September by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who said, "I have long been concerned about the effects of consolidation in the telecommunications industry on American consumers. Any deal of this size and scope warrants scrutiny."
Analysts widely expect regulators to approve Charter's proposed acquisition of TWC and Bright House, which would create the nation's second-largest U.S. cable provider in terms of customers, behind just Comcast. Charter executives have said they expect to close the company's acquisition of TWC and Bright House by the end of this year.
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