DISH Petitions FCC to Deny Charter/Time Warner Cable Merger

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Citing substantial harm to competition and consumers, DISH Network Corp.
(NASDAQ: DISH) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to
deny the proposed merger of Charter Communications, Inc. and Time Warner
Cable, Inc. The petition to deny, available here,
outlines, among other things, the critical role that high-speed
broadband plays in the video industry and the potential for the merger
to significantly damage competitive development of over-the-top (OTT)
video and limit consumer access to online video programming. Some key
points from the petition on the following topics include:

MERGER PRESENTS RISK OF SIGNIFICANT HARMS:

  • New Parties, Same Harms: The proposed transaction would be no
    better for the public interest than the one proposed between Comcast
    and Time Warner Cable. (p.2)
  • A Suffocating Duopoly: The transaction will create a
    suffocating duopoly. Where a Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger would
    have created one behemoth, this transaction will result in two
    broadband providers (Comcast and New Charter) controlling about 90
    percent of the nation’s high-speed broadband homes between them. (p.3)
  • Threats to Online Video: The top two cable providers
    post-merger will not need to collude in order to bring their
    collective weight to bear on an online video distributor (OVD).
    Parallel foreclosures, with one of the two following the other, would
    be enough for an OVD to be shut off from most of the homes in the
    country. (p.3)
  • Concentration of Broadband Subscribers: The impact of New
    Charter would cause a significant proportion of the combined company’s
    high-speed broadband subscribers to lack access to alternative
    high-speed broadband options. Indeed, Charter admits that almost
    two-thirds of households in the New Charter footprint will not have
    access to at least one alternative high-speed broadband provider. For
    these customers, switching ISPs is not just an inconvenience, but an
    impossibility. (p.3)
  • Choke Points on the Charter/TWC Broadband Network: New Charter
    would have a panoply of foreclosure techniques at its disposal. It
    would be able to foreclose or degrade the online video offerings of
    competing MVPD and OTT video providers at any of three “choke points”:
    (1) the points of interconnection to the combined company’s broadband
    network, in effect the “on ramp” to the New Charter network; (2) the
    “public Internet” portion of the pipe to the consumer’s home; and (3)
    managed or specialized service channels, which can act as super
    HOV-lanes and squeeze the capacity of the “public Internet” portion of
    the New Charter broadband pipe. In addition, New Charter would have
    increased leverage that it could use to coerce third-party content
    owners and programmers to withhold online rights from online video
    platforms, thereby stifling a source of competition and innovation in
    the video industry. (p.4)

As Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, states in his accompanying declaration:
“I believe that the proposed merger…. would cause significant and
irreparable harm to emerging competitive online video products and
services, as well as the performance of traditional satellite television
service, ultimately reducing competition and choice for consumers.
Accordingly, I believe that the merger as currently constructed is not
in the public interest and should be denied.”

A copy of the full petition to deny is available here: https://laprensafl.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/2015-10-13_as-filed_dish_network_corp_petition_to_deny_charter-time_warner_cable_merger.pdf

About DISH
DISH Network Corp.
(NASDAQ:DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.932
million pay-TV subscribers, as of June 30, 2015, with the
highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the
best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition lineup with more than
200 national HD channels, the most International channels, and
award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a
Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.

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Contacts

DISH Network Corp.
Karen Modlin, 303-723-1850
Karen.Modlin@dish.com