CEI, ICLE, and Tech Freedom Give Comments to Federal Communications Commission on Charter Cable Merger


Introduction and Summary

On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE), and TechFreedom, we respectfully submit these comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s public notice seeking comment in the matter of the joint applications submitted by Charter Communications, Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., and Advance/Newhouse Partnership to transfer control of various Commission licenses and authorizations pursuant to Sections 214 and 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934. 1 CEI is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to the principles of limited constitutional government and free enterprise.2 ICLE is a global think tank aimed at building an international network of scholars and institutions devoted to methodologies and research agendas supportive of the regulatory underpinnings that enable businesses to flourish.3 TechFreedom is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to promoting the progress of technology that improves the human condition.4 Our organizations frequently participate in FCC proceedings involving broadband, media, and telecommunications mergers.

In this proceeding, the Commission is reviewing two proposed transactions: first, Charter and Time Warner Cable seek to merge; second, Charter seeks to purchase Bright House Networks, a cable television and broadband provider, from its parent company, Advance/Newhouse. 5 We respectfully urge the Commission to promptly and unconditionally approve these applications, as the proposed merger is likely to serve the public interest by enhancing consumer welfare and facilitating robust competition in the already dynamic markets for broadband Internet access service and multichannel video programming distribution. Although we cannot predict with certainty whether this merger, if consummated, will deliver the benefits suggested by both empirical evidence and economic theory, the Commission can best serve consumers by allowing Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks to join forces.