Suddenlink tries to avoid going down the same regulatory review path as Comcast

26 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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The purchase of Suddenlink Communications – the seventh largest cable operator in the U.S. and a significant video and Internet service provider in rural California – by a European company, Altice, is officially under review by the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

As is typical with the initial applications, the companies are claiming there’s not much to worry about and approval should be quick and simple. Suddenlink (which is really a mash up of many corporations, mostly called Cequel or Cebridge or similar) is telling the CPUC that it’s really a teeny tiny deal

Cebridge CA currently offers [telecommunications services] to schools and libraries in California under the federal E-rate program. In addition, the company provides wholesale telecommunications services and point-to-point transport services to a limited number of non-residential customers. Cebridge CA offers those services in several areas of California including Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, Blue Lake, Ferndale, Trinidad, Rio Dell, Truckee, Auburn, Foresthill, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, Blythe, Shaver Lake and [Fort] Ord. Overall, Cebridge CA provides certificated telecommunications services to approximately a dozen customers and has annual intrastate revenues from these services of less than $500,000…

As noted above, the transfer of control of Cebridge CA to Altice, as well as the underlying Transaction, will have no adverse effect on any California customers. It will not result in any change in the operations, rates, terms or conditions of service, or the construction or transfer of any facilities…In short, the proposed Transaction will be seamless and transparent to Cebridge CA’s California customers.

Of course, there’s more to Suddenlink’s business than a dozen regulated telecommunications customers. If – and it’s a big if – the CPUC follows the same logic it pursued in the recently deceased Comcast – Time Warner – Charter deal, it will also evaluate the impact of selling Suddenlink to Altice on the broadband services market in California.