Report: FCC nears approval of Charter-Time Warner Cable deal

Report: FCC nears approval of Charter-Time Warner Cable deal

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler is likely to circulate soon a proposal to approve Charter’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable, according to The Wall Street Journal

The Journal reported Wednesday the the FCC’s proposed order will likely come with a number of conditions and could be modified later after the other commissioners review it. But approval of the $55 billion deal would be a victory for Charter after Comcast ended its acquisition bid last year because of regulatory concerns over harm to the online video market. 

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Under the proposal, Charter would reportedly be barred from restricting TV programing companies who sign contracts with Charter from also distributing the video content online. The plan could also include a number of other conditions to help the online video market. 

Charter has previously agreed to abide by its own set of conditions if the merger is approved. Those include following new net neutrality rules for three years, whether or not the rules are struck down in court. It has also said it would not engage in discriminatory interconnection deals or zero-rate favored programing. 

Public advocates want that three-year commitment to be extended. 

It has also committed to boosting the broadband Internet speed of its service and investing billions over the next few years to build its Internet infrastructure.

The FCC is nearing the end of its informal 180-day shot clock for merger reviews. The deal was proposed last year but needs to be approved by federal regulators at the FCC and Department of Justice. 

As the end of the review nears, some members of Congress have taken an increasingly vocal stance on the deal.