Overnight Technology

Overnight Tech: Charter-Time Warner Cable merger review nears end

LEDE: The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday will reach the end of its informal 180-day timeline to review Charter’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was soon likely to circulate an order to approve the multi-billion dollar merger with conditions. But action will not come this week, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing sources.

{mosads}The merger review got a late start last year, but the clock has paused only once, for two weeks in January. The FCC calls it an “informal benchmark” and says its obligation to review the terms of any merger outweigh the informal deadline.

As the merger review nears its end, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge met with Wheeler and his top lawyer late last week to tout the benefits of the deal. If the deal is approved, the company would become the third largest provider of cable and the second largest supplier of broadband Internet. Regulators scuttled Comcast’s proposed merger of Time Warner Cable last year.

THE CLOCK: Check out the Charter shot clock and the FCC’s description and history of the informal timeline.

MOST VOICEMAILS EXPRESSED OPPOSITION TO DEAL: Meanwhile on Wednesday, the FCC reported that throughout the Charter merger review, it received a number of phone calls and voicemails from citizens about the proposed deal. The FCC said most of them were opposed to the deal.

AMAZON SAYS NO GENDER, MINORITY PAY GAP AT COMPANY: Amazon pays women 99.9 cents for every dollar it pays men in the same job, the company said Wednesday. And there is no real difference between the pay of white and minority employees in the same job. Amazon said that includes both base pay and stock. Amazon’s revelation comes less than a week after the SEC told the company it would be on shaky footing if it tried to deny a shareholder vote to study the pay gap.

“Our recent review of the compensation we awarded last year at Amazon – including both base and stock – resulted in women earning 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, and minorities earning 100.1 cents for every dollar that white employees earn in the same jobs,” The company said in a statement. “There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable.”

FCC PRESSES FORWARD ON LIFELINE: A top adviser to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that the commission would “continue to talk” to stakeholders about concerns with the minimum service standards included in the commission’s plan to overhaul the federal phone-subsidy program. During a speech, Gigi Sohn said the goal is to find “the right balance” between affordability and quality service. During a House hearing a day earlier, there were hints that the standards could change before next week’s vote.

MEDIUM COURTING CONSERVATIVES: Medium, the online publishing platform, is looking to increase its footprint in Washington and is specifically trying to reach out to conservatives. The company’s head of government affairs listed a job posting Wednesday for someone to help lead editorial and politics operations with a specific focus on “forging meaningful” relationships with conservatives. The platform has become popular with lawmakers in its short history — offering a competing platform for traditional op-eds. The Obama administration has made particular use of it, releasing early text of the president’s State of the Union address on the platform for the past two years.

OBAMA’S LEGACY ON TRANSPARENCY: A group of advocacy organizations sent a letter to President Obama this week warning him that his legacy on government transparency and openness is in danger, and advising him to take a series of steps to correct it before he leaves office. The recommendations included publicly supporting a FOIA reform bill, releasing the Senate torture report, and increasing protection for whistleblowers.


The smartphone dating app Tinder is hopping on the campaign bandwagon.

Strong pressure from Democrats has not persuaded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up a controversial proposal that would require some political TV ads to name the major individual donors behind them.

The Web portal used by millions to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act logged 316 cybersecurity incidents during an 18-month period, a government report revealed on Wednesday.

The Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite is helping the FBI hack into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

The Obama administration will temporarily pause sanctions on China’s ZTE, one of the country’s top telecommunications equipment manufacturers, Reuters reported.

Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com Follow us on Twitter: @HilliconValley@dmccabe@_mariotrujillo

Tags Charter Federal Communications Commision merger Time Warner Cable
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