FCC asked for OK on Adelphia

TW, Comcast file formal request

WASHINGTON — Time Warner and Comcast filed a formal request with the Federal Communications Commission for review and approval of their proposed acquisition of bankrupt cabler Adelphia.

According to papers filed Thursday with the FCC, the deal will give Comcast 28.9% of the nation’s approximately 92.3 million subscribers of cable and satellite services. The net result for the cabler is a 0.73% increase in subscribers.

The commission is considering setting a limit on how much of the market a single cabler can own. Insiders expect that limit to be 30% or higher.

During its review, the FCC will solicit public comments on the proposed deal. When TW and Comcast won the bidding for Adelphia last month, some consumer groups objected to the acquisition, saying it would be anticompetitive and a bad deal for consumers. But TW and Comcast officials assert “there is absolutely no basis for concern that the proposed (deal) will somehow reduce competition,” according to papers filed.

The FCC says its review process typically takes 180 days, but delays are not uncommon. TW officials have said they expect the entire process will take nine to 12 months, including a concurrent review by the Federal Trade Commission and approval by local franchises. Time Warner is confident both the FCC and FTC will approve the deal.