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Dish CEO: Charter-TWC Union Would 'Destroy' Online Video Competition

2 Dec, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dish CEO Charlie Ergen

Dish Network is no stranger to publicly questioning Charter Communications’ proposed $78 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The satellite operator Nov. 13 said the union was not in the public interest. That followed an Oct. 13 petition to the Federal Communications Commission in opposition to the deal.

On Dec. 1, CEO Charlie Ergen reportedly told a FCC committee directly that a unified Charter/TWC would create a “suffocating duopoly” that could “degrade” and or “destroy” online video competition.

Among those over-the-top video competitors is Dish’s Sling TV, the first online TV service. Dish claims Charter and TWC together would control about 90% of the nation’s broadband households.

Similar consolidation is believed to have undermined Comcast’s previous attempt to acquire TWC. Affording online video services equal access to the nation’s high-speed Internet is a benchmark to the FCC’s new net neutrality guidelines earlier this year.

An alleged lack of equality is at the core of Dish’s concerns.

"The applicants’ commitments are inadequate to mitigate the harm to consumers, competition, and innovation that would result from the merger as presently constructed,” Ergen said, according to Multichannel News.

Charter countered that its union with TWC only represents about 23% — not 90% — of the nation’s broadband households. In addition, the cabler said it offers consumers and video services high-speed Internet without long-term contracts or usage-based billing, among other features.

“Charter is an industry leader in how to treat broadband consumers and online video distributors like Netflix,” the cabler said in a statement.

Interestingly, unlike its vocal opposition to Comcast’s failed acquisition of TWC, Netflix has expressed support of the Charter-TWC merger.


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