The agency will release an order describing its reasoning and the conditions “in the coming days,” it said today. That leaves the companies waiting for an OK from the California Public Utilities Commission, which is scheduled to meet May 12.
Wheeler said last week he would circulate a petition to support the deal after Charter agreed to several concessions that the FCC chairman said “will directly benefit consumers by bringing and protecting competition to the video marketplace and increasing broadband deployment.”
The Justice Department also said it would support the merger once a court approves the terms. Antitrust officials put a $78 billion value on the TWC deal, with an additional $10.4 billion for a related acquisition of Bright House Networks.
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge thanked the FCC in a statement today, adding that the conditions his company accepted are “largely extensions of the longstanding consumer friendly values and practices of our company, and based on the commitments we put forward during the review process. Charter will be a stronger competitor in the broadband and video markets, well positioned to deliver these benefits and more to consumers.”
Among other things, Charter agreed to refrain from doing anything to deter a programmer from licensing content to an online service. It will boost by 2 million the number of “customer locations” with high-speed connections.
The cable company also agreed to not impose data caps, tie Internet rates to usage or charge an interconnection fee to video providers that “deliver large volumes of internet traffic.”
Barring a last-minute hitch, Charter will become the No. 2 cable operator, after Comcast, with more than 17 million video subscribers.