Don't make U.S. telecoms market failure worse, says The Economist

8 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Land of the rent-seekers and home of high prices.

AT&T should not be allowed to purchase Time Warner, according to a pointed editorial in The Economist. AT&T’s monopoly power in some market segments and its cozy duopolies in others already gives it too much control over what people in the U.S. can see, how much they have to pay and how much money gets stuffed in the pockets of politicians, says the London-based newspaper and free market advocate

There are two reasons why trustbusters should now take a tougher line.


Only one regulatory hurdle looms for AT&T-Time Warner deal

24 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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Clearing it is not a given, though.

AT&T’s bid to acquire Time Warner has little direct effect on the broadband industry, but the indirect effects have set off anti-competitive alarm bells. Compared to other recent mega-deals, though, there will be relatively little regulatory review of the transaction.

Time Warner already spun off its cable systems into an independent company, which was snapped up by Charter Communications earlier this year. That followed a similar, unsuccessful attempt by Comcast.… More

Charter gets CPUC okay to buy Time Warner, Bright House

13 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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It’s all Charter territory now.

Charter Communications will own Time Warner cable systems in southern California and Bright House systems in the San Joaquin Valley and become the state’s largest cable company, following yesterday’s unanimous approval of the deal by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Commission president Michael Picker – technically, the commissioner responsible for the decision text – made one change to the revised draft prepared by an administrative law judge. He added a three year limit on Charter’s obligation to “comply with all the terms and conditions of the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, regardless of the outcome of any legal challenge”.… More

CPUC approves Charter purchase of Time Warner, Bright House

12 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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In a unanimous vote a few minutes ago, the California Public Utilities Commission approved Charter Communications’ purchase of Time Warner and Bright House cable systems in California. It’s the final regulatory hurdle for the transaction. CPUC president Michael Picker made one change to the text of the decision that was on the table, adding a time limit of three years to Charter’s obligation to abide by the FCC’s common carrier rules. As written, the text left that commitment open ended, which was apparently a drafting oversight.… More

Game on for Charter deal as CPUC meets in Sacramento

12 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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The decision should come later this morning, and it’s looking increasingly like the California Public Utilities Commission will approve Charter Communication’s purchase of Time Warner and Bright House cable systems in California.

It won’t skate through on the consent agenda – the long list of non-controversial decisions the CPUC (and most other public agencies) take with a single, usually unanimous vote. It was originally placed there, but was officially pulled off yesterday afternoon, when last minute revisions to today’s agenda were posted.… More

California's blessing for Charter-Time Warner on track for tomorrow

11 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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Holy orders or holy hand grenade?

Charter Communications is inching closer to gaining the California Public Utilities Commission’s okay to buy cable systems owned by Time Warner and Bright House. The CPUC administrative law judge handling the case published a revised version of his original draft decision approving the deal late yesterday, and there were no major changes.

The revised draft reviewed objections raised by a number of organisations that continue to oppose the deal, as well as responses from Charter offering additional concessions, such as promising to upgrade all customers to 300 Mbps capability by 2019.… More

FCC formally approves Charter deal, details to follow

8 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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Following a stream of news leaks, the Federal Communications Commission announced on Friday that it has approved Charter Communication’s purchase of Time Warner and Bright House cable systems. No details about conditions or other restrictions were given. According to the FCC press release

The Commission [on Thursday] approved — with conditions — the Application filed by Charter Communications, Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., and Advance/Newhouse Partnership approval to transfer control of certain licenses and authorizations from Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to Charter Communications.


Charter's bid to buy Time Warner faces headwinds but no hurricane in California

3 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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No landfall in Alta California so far.

There’s opposition to Charter Communication’s proposed takeover of Time Warner and Bright House cable systems in California, but it’s nothing like the fierce reaction to last year’s failed deal that would have allowed Comcast to buy Time Warner, effectively do the same with Bright House and swap markets with Charter to gain control of something 80% of California cable homes. Opposition to that plan approached holy war levels, and eventually led to it being scrapped by federal regulators.… More

Draft decision allowing Charter to buy Time Warner is a good deal for California

2 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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A plan to upgrade ancient, analog cable systems in the Salinas Valley and elsewhere in California to full digital capability could be on the California Public Utilities Commission’s agenda as soon as next week. A CPUC administrative law judge has recommended approval of Charter Communication’s proposed purchase of Time Warner and Bright House cable systems, with a long list of conditions that include digital upgrades for at least 70,000 analog homes and line extensions to 80,000 more that have no service at all.… More

Subsidised dark fiber leverages private investment for Salinas Valley last mile upgrades

29 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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Middle mile threads last mile gaps; last mile follows.

A project that will bring fast, fiber optic broadband to the Salinas Valley is nearing the halfway mark and could be done by this coming fall. Sunesys LLC (now owned by Crown Castle) won a $10.6 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in 2014 to build a 91-mile open access middle mile fiber line from Santa Cruz to Soledad. It will bring cheap, wholesale bandwidth to towns along the way – Castroville, Chualar and Gonzales, for example – that lack Internet access that meets the California Public Utilities Commission’s minimum standard of 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload speeds.… More