DTH

Dish files reply with FCC on proposed Time Warner Cable, Merger, says not in public interest

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MUMBAI: Dish Network Corporation has filed a reply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) countering arguments made by Charter Communications, Inc. (Charter), Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC) and Bright House Net works (BHN) defending t he proposed merger between t he companies. In t he reply, DISH out lines how t he applicant s have f ailed t o prove t hat t his proposed merger is in t he public interest and reiterates its call for t he FCC t o deny the merger.

“If the proposed merger is approved, 90 percent of the nation’s high speed broadband homes would be cont rolled by two companies, and t he combined ‘New Charter’ would have every incentive t o sabot age OTT services like Sling TV that compete with the old school cable bundle,” said Jeffrey Blum, Dish senior vice president and deputy general counsel. “The proposed merger is harmful for consumers, competition and innovation, and should be denied.”

Following are key point s DISH makes in today’s filing. The complete filing can be found here.

Merger Will Not Serve the Public Interest:

New Charter will have an increased incentive and ability to Harm OVDs:  New Charter would have a particularly heightened incentive t o discriminate against competing OVD services, especially live streaming services like Sling TV – which is a total substitute for linear pay television.

New Charter is Likely t o Increase Broadband Prices, Further Prejudicing Rival OVDs:  New Charter will be able t o deploy another win- win strategy t o make it s broadband business more profitable, while still protecting its linear video business: raise t he price of broadband accesses it her directly or indirectly.

T he Merger Will Create a Dominant Duo poly wit h t he Incentive t o Engage in Anti-Competitive Parallel Conduct:  As Dish explained in it s Pet it ion t o Deny, t his transact ion will create a broadband duopoly, with Comcast and New Charter cont rolling about 90 percent of the high- speed broadband homes in t he country. Parallel action, with one of the two following the other, will be enough to foreclose an OVD from almost all high- speed homes in t he country.

T he Merger “Benefits” are Nothing More than Repackaged Plans and Conjecture: Charter also f ails t o provide any evidence t hat t he combination of Charter wit h TWC and BHN is necessary t o achieve many, if not all, of the benefit s it  t out s. From infrastructure through jobs and cost savings, Charter has offered lit t le more than recycled (non- merger- specific) business plans and conjecture. 

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