Lee, Klobuchar Call For Review of Proposed Charter, Time Warner, Bright House Merger

February 18, 2016

WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Chairman of the FCC Tom Wheeler, requesting a close review of Charter Communications’ proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
“We are on the threshold of a dramatic transformation of the way consumers obtain video content that should increase competition and benefit American consumers,” the letter states.
“American consumers will benefit if we cross this threshold to increased competition, and we believe that your agencies play a role in making sure that transformation occurs. As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Antitrust Subcommittee, we have carefully examined consolidation in these industries to ensure that existing market leaders to not block or co-opt new options for receiving video content or exercise disproportionate control over the video content market.”
The Senators note concern that the merged companies and comcast would control 70 to 90 percent of the broadband internet connections to American homes, which could hinder the ability of online video distributors to offer a viable alternative to cable services.  Regional cable companies could also find it difficult to compete. Additionally, they cite that maintaining a robust marketplace of ideas, news, and entertainment relies in part on the viability of independent programmers, who could end up being discriminated against if the merged companies are able to pay less for content.”
The full letter is available here.