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Broadcasters Ask FCC to Put Review of Charter-Time Warner Merger on Hold

The National Association of Broadcasters says that the FCC should put its review of the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable on hold, arguing that the agency should first deal with outdated broadcast ownership rules before allowing more consolidation among cable and satellite providers.

In a filing with the FCC on Thursday, NAB contends that the Charter and TW Cable, in their merger petition, “failed to address questions of consumer harm stemming from cable system clustering,” among other things. NAB also contends that the merging parties have “erroneously asserted that the public would benefit from reduced fees” that a bigger company would pay for programming.

NAB wants the FCC to complete a review of broadcast ownership rules, something that it is scheduled to do every four years. But the 2010 and 2014 reviews have yet to be completed. NAB claims that the policies “have warped competition in the video marketplace,” and that they hamper competition given consolidation among pay TV providers.

According to the FCC, the proposed merger of Time Warner Cable, Charter and Bring House Networks would create the third-largest multichannel video provider in the country, with roughly 17.3 million customers. The new company also would have 19.4 million broadband subscribers, creating the second-largest broadband Internet provider in the country.

The FCC is on day 62 of a 180-day timeline for the merger review.

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