Char­ter tries to sway reg­u­la­tors

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - As­so­ci­ated press

Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. is try­ing to con­vince the gov­ern­ment that con­sumers will ben­e­fit if it is al­lowed to cre­ate a ca­ble gi­ant through its pro­posed $ 67.1- bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Time Warner Ca­ble and Bright House Net­works.

The com­pany says it will roll out faster In­ter­net with no data caps for Time Warner Ca­ble and Bright House cus­tomers for less money than a com­pa­ra­ble ser­vice could. It is also pledg­ing to con­tinue its pol­icy of not block­ing or slow­ing traf­fic, or es­tab­lish­ing paid fast lanes for some con­tent.

The gov­ern­ment’s new “net neutrality” rules pro­hibit those prac­tices, though In­ter­net providers have sued to throw out the rules.

Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion Chair­man Tom Wheeler has said that the Stam­ford, Conn., com­pany needs to show how a more pow­er­ful Char­ter would ben­e­fit con­sumers.

Com­cast Corp. scrapped its bid for Time Warner Ca­ble this spring af­ter push­back from reg­u­la­tors who were con­cerned that the com­bined com­pany would serve more than half of the coun­try’s high- speed In­ter­net cus­tomers, giv­ing it the power to un­der­mine online video ri­vals.

Char­ter has pointed out that its share of that mar­ket is smaller than that, at 30%. It would have 19.4 mil­lion In­ter­net cus­tomers, fewer than Com­cast has now, and 17.3 mil­lion ca­ble cus­tomers, less than both Com­cast and the pro­posed com­bi­na­tion of AT& T and DirecTV, if reg­u­la­tors ap­prove that pend­ing deal.

In another bid to as­suage the FCC, Char­ter also says it will sub­mit dis­putes over com­mer­cial In­ter­net traf­fic deals, called “in­ter­con­nec­tion,” to the agency.

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