It's Official: Charter-TWC Approved

RELATED:Netflix Good With Charter-TWC Deal Conditions

The FCC confirmed Friday that all five commissioners have now voted the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal, which was approved.

The vote was 4-1 and was completed May 5, with the office of commissioner Mignon Clyburn declining to comment on her vote but a source confirming she voted for it.

Voting for the deal were FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Michael O'Rielly. Clyburnalso voted to approve after getting assurances this week from Charter about its commitments to diversity.

"An Order detailing the Commission’s reasoning and the conditions will be issued in the coming days," the FCC said in a brief statement.

“I want to thank Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly for their thorough review of these transactions,” said Charter President Tom Rutledge. “The significant benefits of these transactions are clear; greater competition, more consumer and OTT friendly broadband policies, broader access to affordable broadband, and added U.S. jobs. The conditions are largely extensions of the longstanding consumer friendly values and practices of our company, and based on the commitments we put forward during the review process. Charter will be a stronger competitor in the broadband and video markets, well positioned to deliver these benefits and more to consumers.”

Public Knowledge, which wanted tougher conditions on the deal, was still supportive of the final product.

"While Public Knowledge proposed broader restrictions on the merging companies, we nonetheless support the Justice Department and FCC  conditions and look forward to working with the agencies to promote competition and video choice."

The conditions that did make it onto the deal--for seven years--include no data caps or usage-based pricing, no interconnection fees, no anticompetitive programming contracts disadvantaging OVDs and adherence to the FCC's Open Inernet rules no matter what the court decides.

Now that denial was off the table, the Stop Mega Cable Coalition, comprising groups urging the deal be denied or strongly conditioned, focused on urging the FCC to insure the conditions it did impose were enforced.

“Our coalition commends the FCC and DOJ for the time and attention both entities have dedicated to reviewing this transaction over the past year. But now that the review phase has concluded, much work remains. The conditions attached to this merger need to be strictly enforced to ensure that Charter is held accountable for living up to its commitments," the group said.

"With the completion of this merger, the U.S. now has a national cable duopoly controlling, among other things, over two-thirds of all high-speed broadband households. These two companies, 'New Charter' and Comcast, must not be allowed to abuse their power to thwart the growing and much needed competition posed by emerging over-the-top (OTT) streaming services."

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.