The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has paused the ‘shot-clock’ on its 180-day review of Charter Communications’ proposed purchases of rival cablecos Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks. The watchdog said the 15-day recess is necessary to evaluate a number of supplementary documents filed last month by the merging companies. On 17 December, to help FCC staff to assess the applicants’ commitment to build one million residential line extensions and deliver USD2.5 billion of commercial network investment, TWC provided new information regarding its own residential and commercial buildout methodologies. On 22 December Charter provided similar information, as well as new details concerning its commitment to deploy a new low-cost broadband service. Other documentation submitted relates to IP interconnection, residential pricing and packaging methodology and cybersecurity. The review process, which started in September 2015, will still have 65 days to run once it resumes on 20 January.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Charter and TWC entered into a definitive merger agreement in May 2015, which valued the latter at USD78.7 billion. Running parallel to the above, Charter and Advance/Newhouse Partnership – the parent company of smaller rival Bright House Networks – announced that they had amended an agreement signed on 31 March 2015, whereby Charter would acquire Bright House for USD10.4 billion. Each of the deals received shareholder approval in September 2015. The combination of Charter, TWC and Bright House will create the second largest broadband provider in the US – behind cable giant Comcast – serving around 23.9 million customers across 41 states.