Federal regulators will shoot down big cable deals because big is bad, says analyst

11 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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By its very existence, big cable is a barrier to new broadband infrastructure investment by potential competitors, according to Nancy Rose, a senior administrator at the federal justice department in charge of economic analysis. In a speech she gave to the American Bar Association last month, and posted on the BTIG Research blog, she said that the buying power of big cable companies gives them an advantage in creating video packages that would-be competitors can’t overcome…

There was certainly some suggestion made to us that broadband investments are less attractive, at least at present, if you can’t also get access to low cost video programming and put together a cable-like package…to offer customers.


Charter pushes ahead with bid to expand California footprint via Bright House purchase

20 May 2015 by Steve Blum
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Not dead yet.

Well, the deal lives. Charter Communications is still in the hunt to take over Bright House Networks. Reuters reported that the deal was off, following the crash of the Comcast-Time Warner-Charter mega-merger. But if anything was actually broken in the first place, it’s now been fixed, according to a press release from Charter

The companies remain committed to completing their previously announced transaction on the same economic and governance terms.


California cable universe resets to default

10 May 2015 by Steve Blum
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The last surviving remnant of the failed Comcast – Time Warner – Charter mega mash-up has gone to the Golden Hills. According to a story run on Reuters, Charter’s side deal to buy Bright House is dead…

Charter, the No. 4 U.S. cable operator, clinched the deal with Bright House in March contingent on completion of Comcast Corp’s $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. Comcast walked away from the Time Warner Cable deal last month because of antitrust hurdles.


Alternate ending emerges for California cable game

3 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click to see the big picture.

Charter Communications, the fourth largest cable TV company in the U.S., has an agreement to buy Bright House Networks, the sixth largest. The deal sets up a couple of possible futures for broadband in California.

Bright House and Charter are already wrapped up in the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger. Via a series of market swaps, Comcast would get all of Charter’s systems in the state, except for the one at Lake Tahoe.… More

Drilling down on the digital divide in California's oil towns

3 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Western Kern County is oil country. Once you hit the foothills of the central California coast range, agriculture stops and oil production begins. Several small towns along State Route 33 support the industry and its workers. The largest is Taft, with a city limits population of around 9,000 people in about 2,300 households, plus adjacent unincorporated neighborhoods.

By California Public Utilities Commission standards, nearly all of Taft (and Maricopa to the south) has adequate broadband service: the local cable company, Bright House, offers up to 90 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.… More