Incanting the D-word — duopoly — and predicting broadband innovation stagnation and higher consumer prices, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid piled on this week against the proposed Charter acquisition of Time Warner Cable. This comes a few days after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and four other senators also made their opposition known.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Reid said the deal would “effectively create a national high-speed broadband duopoly.” He is echoing the concerns of others who say the resulting “New Charter” along with Comcast would dominate the market so completely that advancements in technology would wither while prices for consumers spike.
“This lack of competition creates a risk that investment and innovation in broadband will stagnate, leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers,” Reid writes. “The proposed Charter acquisition has the potential to erect further barriers to broadband competition, including from wireless and fiber.”
Vociferous hostility hurled at the proposed acquisition is not difficult to find, but New Jersey and New York have already approved it. While analysts have generally said they believe the deal will past muster, sentiment is rising that California could possibly make things more awkward during its review in May.
At a Morgan Stanley conference this week, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge described opportunities rather than barriers for the proposed enlarged company. The Hollywood Reporter and other publications quoted Rutledge as “reasonably comfortable” in its continued work with federal and state regulators to complete the deal. That could be around May after the California review, Rutledge added.
Filed Under: Industry regulations