The FCC has stopped the clock on its review of Comcast’s takeover of Time Warner Cable. TWC informed the agency that it had, in error, not supplied more than 7,000 documents the FCC had requested.
TWC told the FCC that it had withheld the documents on an incorrect claim of attorney-client privilege, according to the agency. TWC should have turned over those documents in September, but did not until earlier this month (December). Furthermore, there are another 30,000 documents that were misplaced due to some unspecified vendor error. TWC is still in the process of delivering those.
Given those delays, the FCC said it will suspend the 180 day clock until January 12.
Another suspension of the clock remains possible should an impasse remain with certain programmers. The FCC has requested documents related to programming costs. Programmers don’t want to release information about programming costs at all, but are further reluctant to share the information with third-party counsel hired by some of the companies involved in the megamergers the FCC is reviewing (Comcast, TWC, AT&T, DirecTV).
Separately, today was the deadline for commentary against the merger to be filed with the FCC.
Dish Network has reiterated its opposition to the Comcast-TWC merger, filing a petition with the FCC that says the combination will lead to irreparable harm to competition and consumers, and provides “no discernible benefits.”
Among the Dish’s claims is that the combination would be able to eliminate potential completion from online video distributors (OVDs; some of which, not coincidentally, want to qualify as MVPDs):
“Comcast-TWC will be able to destroy OVDs with impunity. And destroy them it will: Dish’s experience based on the business case for Dish World and Dish’s soon-to-be-launched domestic OTT service demonstrates that an OTT could still turn a profit if it were to suffer foreclosure at the hands of a standalone Comcast, but not if the effects of the foreclosure spread across both of the Applicants’ systems. Based on his analysis of that business case, Dish’s expert economist Professor David Sappington concludes that, while foreclosure conduct on the part of Comcast today is probably survivable for an OVD such as Dish’s new OTT service, the same conduct would be lethal if undertaken by Comcast-TWC.”
The Comptel trade association also said it filed against.
Comcast once again published the list of organizations in favor.
Filed Under: Industry regulations