The merger of Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House networks will put too much ISP marketshare in the hands of just two cable companies (Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) would be the other one) and the deal should be rejected, according to Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH). The company made its claims in another filing to the FCC on the topic.
"The FCC should not allow an already concentrated market for high-speed broadband access to become even more so," Dish said. "The threats to competition and the public interest are clear. Dish urges the FCC to deny the transaction as it is currently presented."
While Charter has faced only a fraction of the blowback Comcast endured while trying to buy TWC last year, Dish has kept up a steady assault on Charter's merger proposals.
Charter responded to this latest volly with this statement: "New Charter would only have 23 percent of broadband subscribers receiving 25 Mbps and above. There is no more OVD friendly provider than Charter. We have a minimum broadband speed of 60 Mbps with no data caps, no usage based billing and a settlement-free interconnection policy."
In its latest letter, Dish noted that the Department of Justice, in rejecting the Comcast-TWC merger, already signaled its aversion to a high-concentration of high-speed Internet service market share.
"The Department of Justice has done so for precisely the issue that Dish has raised -- the fact that such market concentration between two firms would allow for coordinated action even without active collusion between the players," Dish said.
Dish also issued another condemnation that is eerily similar to the criticisms of the scuttled Comcast-TWC deal -- the satellite operator said "New Charter" would drag down the market for online video distributors (OVDs).
"Dish has shown that the overwhelming duopoly that the proposed deal would usher in could suffocate independent online video distributors, particularly those trying to take head-on the duopolists, New Charter and Comcast. Foreclosure by just these two access providers would be a one-two knockout blow for an OVD," the company said.
Despite Dish's misgivings, Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack said he still expects the Charter-TWC-Bright House deal to close in June. Further, McCormack said he expects regulators, such as California's Public Utilities Commission, to use the deal as an "opportunity to attempt to extract concessions," but that is not unexpected.
- see this FCC filing
Charter's Rutledge: 'We'll hire our own technicians to do the work' of TWC technical integration
Liberty's Malone says he'll exit Charter if pressured by regulators over TWC, Bright House deals
Dish says Charter-TWC merger 'not in public interest'; AT&T and Verizon look to limit Malone's control