Dish targets Charter-Bright House deal in latest FCC filing

Now averaging about one ex parte filing a week, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) targeted the Bright House Networks piece of Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) aggressive cable acquisition spree in its latest query to the FCC.

"The lack of a causal nexus between the merger and the benefits is particularly stark in the case of Bright House Networks," said Dish attorney Stephanie Roy. "Under its existing partnership with Time Warner Cable, Bright House is already positioned to complete deployment of its next generation network in a timely fashion."

Analysts expect wrangling with state public utilities commissions and various other regulatory bodies will extend the closure of the three-way merger between Charter, Bright House and TWC (NYSE: TWC) into as late as the middle of next year. However, the consensus is that the deals lack the opposition endured by the previously unsuccessful Comcast-TWC merger attempt, and they'll likely be consummated.

Dish, however, has emerged has the most strident critic of the two Charter acquisition deals, releasing a flurry of ex parte memos to the FCC in recent weeks. 

In its latest heavily redacted letter, Dish said that Bright House is already offering advanced 300 Mbps services to its customers and is "well-positioned" to proliferate higher-speed services across its footprint.

"Put simply, it is unclear what Charter's management of Bright House will do to improve upon Bright House's existing and ongoing network deployment plans," Roy said. "Additionally, and as noted in Dish's reply, it would not be a benefit for Bright House customers to be forced to pay for a higher speed tier of 60 Mbps without a lower cost alternative."

Charter spokesman Justin Venech said the MSO had no comment on Dish's letter. But he did release this statement:  "New Charter's many commitments, including to provide faster broadband service without data caps or modem fees, establish industry leading interconnection policies, offer advanced video services, increase competition in the SMB and enterprise business markets, and return thousands of overseas jobs to the U.S., puts this transaction squarely in the public interest."

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