Dan Gilmore / May 26, 2015

Charter Thinks It Can Woo FCC in Proposed Merger

Cue the politics of businesses trying to sway regulators overseeing a state-controlled industry. Charter Communications announced that it struck a deal with fellow telecommunications company Time Warner Cable. For $55 billion, the two will merge and become one of the largest telecommunications companies in the nation. Odd, because Comcast tried to acquire Time Warner Cable just last year, but the FCC and the Department of Justice had to review the deal to make sure it was “in the public interest,” reported the Wall Street Journal last year. But the deal fell through. However, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the CEOs of Charter and Time Warner Cable to let them know the regulatory committee isn’t against all mergers. In effect, the FCC is deciding who will be winners, and who will be losers. But it’s the free market that brings about the best deals for consumers. For example, in our home-city of Chattanooga, Comcast recently announced it would start offering Internet at speeds of 2 gigabits per second. Chattanooga is known as Gig City because it is the first place in the nation to offer 1 gig Internet speeds, through its city-owned telecommunications company EPB. Do you think Comcast would have offered 2 gig Internet without that pressure? Thought not. More…

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