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FCC to Merge Comcast Merger Dockets

WASHINGTON — An Federal Communications Commission source confirmed last week that the agency will combine the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger and Comcast-Charter Communications system trade and spinoff deal into a single docket, number 14-57.

That means the “shot clock” setting a deadline by which the FCC must act won’t start on vetting Comcast- TWC until the commission has the information on both deals, which likely won’t be for a few more weeks.

Comcast’s spinoff of systems to Charter is contingent on FCC approval of the Time Warner Cable acquisition.

The FCC is still waiting for Comcast to file its application for the Charter “divestiture transaction” and public-interest filings, after which it will make sure those contain the needed information. The FCC will then issue a public notice establishing that the deals have been combined into a single docket, the source said.

The commission expects a three-part pleading cycle with three due dates — one for comments and petitions to deny the deal; one for responses to comments and oppositions to the aforementioned petitions; and a third for responses and oppositions.

The Charter system transactions are complicated, so don’t look for that filing for at least a few weeks.