Free State to FCC: Free Charter from Conditions

The Free State Foundation is squarely behind Charter's request that the FCC let it out early from a couple of its Time Warner Cable deal conditions. 

Charter last month asked the FCC to terminate the seven-year interconnection condition on its 2016 deal to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks on May 18, 2021, two years early — in light of the ”dramatic“ changes in the online video marketplace. Charter also wants a similar early exit from its ”no data caps or usage-based pricing“ condition.   

Related: Newsmax Says FCC Jumped Gun on Charter Petition 

In comments on the Charter petition filed with the FCC Wednesday, Free State president Randolph May and Director of Policy Studies and Senior Fellow Seth Cooper said that "because the market for online video distribution (OVD) services is competitive and the harms that the Commission speculated might occur have never materialized, the Commission should sunset those conditions." 

They also say the conditions--imposed under a Democratic-led FCC, were not merger specific and reflected an incorrect view of both usage-based pricing and interconnection regulation that no longer reflect the views of the current--Republican-led--FCC. 

"Because continued imposition of the two conditions risks putting Charter at a disadvantage compared to its competitors and deprives consumers of the benefits of Charter having more flexibility in devising its service offerings, the Commission should sunset those conditions," they said. "Indeed, given the compelling reasons supporting termination, the Commission should terminate them prior to May 2021," even earlier than Charter has requested. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.