FCC stops ‘shot-clock’ on review of Comcast, TWC merger

6 Oct 2014

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has paused its ‘shot-clock’ on the review of the proposed USD45.2 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC), the two largest US cable broadband providers by subscribers. The FCC, which will determine whether or not the deal is in the public interest, said it is stopping its informal 180-day clock until 29 October, which is the new deadline for the public and stakeholders to comment – or until the agency is satisfied with Comcast’s response to requests for additional information. The deadline had previously been set for 8 October.

According to Reuters, on Friday the FCC’s review of the merger was in day 85 of the 180-day self-imposed deadline to complete transaction reviews. The regulator’s review had been expected to be finished on or around 6 January 2015. The Department of Justice (DoJ) is also reviewing the proposed deal for antitrust issues. Comcast has stressed it does not directly compete with TWC in any market and argues that, together, they could invest and innovate to bring better services to more Americans.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Comcast plans to spin off selected assets into a separate entity known as GreatLand Connections in order to win the FCC’s approval. GreatLand will preside over a customer base of 2.5 million concentrated in eleven Midwest and south-eastern US states. Rival operator Charter Communications will hold a 33% stake in the new company, while the remaining 67% will be owned by Comcast shareholders, rather than Comcast itself.