The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
By Lydia Beyoud
Feb. 5 — The trade group representing the largest U.S. telecom providers said it was pulling out of a coalition of companies opposing a proposed $55.1 million deal to combine Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks Inc.
The United States Telecom Association (USTelecom), with members including AT&T Inc., Centurylink Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., said it doesn't oppose the deal and is splitting from the group due to a difference on policy positions.
No vote by member companies was necessary on the item, “as our members are all comfortable with the decision for USTelecom not to continue in the coalition,” an association spokeswoman told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail.
The Stop Mega Cable Coalition, formed Jan. 21 by Dish Corp., Cincinnati Bell, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, and other consumer and trade groups, is seeking to stop the merger of three of the top 10 multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) in the country .
Regulatory approval of the deal would create a duopoly in the U.S. market between Comcast Corp. and “New Charter,” the coalition has said. “That puts these giants in a position to control the fate of new and emerging OTT [over-the-top] services that rely on a robust high-speed broadband connection,” the group said on its website.
The merger would result in the creation of the third largest MVPD provider and second largest broadband Internet provider in the country, according to the FCC.
USTelecom pointed to a Nov. 12 ex parte filing with the Federal Communications Commission as laying out its suggested conditions for merger approval.
The trade group asked the FCC to prohibit the merger parties from giving or receiving “any undue preferences” from any other incumbent cable providers. USTelecom also asked for limits on John Malone's influence over the New Charter operations. Malone's company, Liberty Broadband Corp., would be the single largest shareholder in New Charter.
Stop Mega Cable said it would continue to oppose the deal.
“We appreciate the role that USTelecom played in launching this effort and, more importantly, appreciate its persuasive FCC filing outlining some of the harms of this merger,” the group's spokeswoman told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail.
A Charter spokesman declined to comment on the USTelecom announcement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine in Washington at email@example.com
Text of the USTelecom ex parte filing is at http://src.bna.com/ctF.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)