While FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears set to conditionally sign off on Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) acquisitions of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks, opposition group Stop Mega Cable hasn't given up on thwarting regulatory approval of the deal.
The group, still led by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Cincinnati Bell and progressive organizations like Common Cause, met late last week with David Grossman, chief of staff and media policy advisor for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, urging her to vote on Wheeler's approval order.
"This transaction will produce a new cable and broadband giant – Mega Cable – that threatens the future of video distribution services provided by over-the-top distributors, and smaller and new entrant MVPDs," the group said in an ex parte filing, detailing Friday's meeting.
"Mega Cable would be the dominant broadband provider in many of the country's largest and most important geographic markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas-Ft Worth, among others," the group added. "In addition, Mega Cable and Comcast would control broadband access to the vast majority of American homes at speeds of 25 Mbps and above — at least 70 percent and possibly as high as 90 percent.
The group went on, including the usual volleys regarding the stifling of online video and bad customer service.
"Mega Cable would have the means and incentive to harm established and emerging streaming services, to the benefit of its own service offerings," the group said.
"Mega Cable would compound ongoing price hikes, poor customer service and the lack of choice in cable and broadband marketplaces," the coalition added. "Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks boast some of the lowest customer satisfaction scores — not just in the cable industry, but any industry."
For its part, Charter used to diligently respond to these barrages. But probably sensing that the regulatory winds are now blowing decidedly in his company's direction, a Charter rep had no comment for FierceCable today.
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