After a year of waiting for regulators to do what regulators do, Charter Communications’ purchases of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are being cleared by regulators.
There are a few conditions, of course, two of which relate to network neutrality. Charter can’t impose data caps or charge by usage and it can’t charge content providers fees for the privilege of reaching its customers, and those restrictions will remain in place for seven years. They seem par for the course though, and maybe even a bit out of date already.
Charter should be able to close the deals sometime in May, at which point the company will become the second largest US cable operator next to Comcast. Comcast, of course, was denied the ability to buy Time Warner Cable itself last spring after outbidding Charter.
In addition to reshaping the consumer cable MSO marketplace, the deal will shift the markets for business bandwidth as well as wireless backhaul. While it won’t create the metro fiber behemoth that the Comcast deal would have, Charter’s combined fiber-to-the-business and metro Ethernet reach will be quite extensive. All three companies were seeing strong growth in those areas, althouth they’ll have quite an integration project to get through first before it all starts behaving as one entity though.
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