Charter Communications Withdraws Petition to Sunset Merger Conditions

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau issued a public notice that Charter Communications Inc. has withdrawn its petition to the sunset merger conditions relating to its merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks LLC, which was approved by regulators in 2016; the FCC had issued a public notice in June 2020 for Charter’s petition.

The conditions at issue are: “(1) the prohibition on Charter imposing data caps and usage-based pricing mechanisms; and (2) the requirement for Charter to offer to connect its Internet protocol network to any qualifying entity free of charge and on standardized terms.” According to Charter’s petition, these conditions were “designed to mitigate concerns that Charter could ‘hamper or prevent current and future online video rivals from expanding, becoming more competitive, or starting-up in the first place.” As stated in the merger order, Charter originally requested for the conditions to end May 18, 2021, saying that the reasons for the conditions no longer exist.

As a result of the withdrawal, the Bureau said it will not consider filings specific to the petition; however, the docket will stay open for more filings like those required by Charter or the independent compliance officer. In accordance with the terms of the order approving the merger, the conditions that still are in effect will expire May 18, 2023, seven years from the transaction’s closing date.