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FCC Approves Time Warner Cable's Move to Become a Separate Company

The FCC has approved Time Warner's spin-off of Time Warner Cable into a separate company.

"We find that grant of the application complies with the Commission's rules and policies and is consistent with the public interest," the FCC's Media Bureau said Wednesday.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is the nation's second largest cable operator after Comcast.

The FCC declined to maintain program access conditions on Time Warner, as some commentators had asked. Those conditions were applied because the combination of Time Warner's programming and cable system operations provided the opportunity for disfavoring competing cable systems. The FCC said that by separating the cable operations from the programming side of the company, "that underlying premise no longer applies."

Wealth TV had argued that the deal should not go through until its program access complaint against Time Warner had been resolved.

But the commission said it was "unnecessary to delay resolution of this matter in order to conclude these proceedings since they are not specific to this transaction."

The FCC said that the conditions applied to Time Warner in its divvying up of the bankrupt Adelphia cable systems will continue to apply to TWC post-merger, those include access to regional sports networks on reasonable terms and conditions. But Adelphia conditions will not apply to Time Warner, the programmer, since it will "no longer be the parent, or an affiliate, of TWC."

The FCC declined to make removing all adult programming from the TWC systems a condition of the deal, as a relative handful of commentators had requested.

The FCC has been considering the spin-off request for 225 days. It has an unofficial shot clock of 180 days, but often honors that more in the breach than the observance. Some had argued that former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin sat on the deal per his alleged anti-cable bias.