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Outside Parties Seek Inside Look at Charter-TWC

Third parties are lining up to get a gander at the documents in the Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House deal.

Among the entities who in the past couple of weeks have filed their acknowledgements of confidentiality with the FCC in order to access sensitive—and highly confidential—documents in the deal include Dish, COMPTEL, which represents competitive carriers, the American Cable Association, which represents smaller operators, and Free Press, which is generally opposed to media consolidation among large players.

That follows the FCC's release two weeks ago of the protective orders that determine how documents, like programming contracts and work product, will be shared with outside parties, including competitors.

"While we are mindful of the sensitive nature of some of the information involved, we are also mindful of the general right of the public, and our desire for the public, to participate in this proceeding in a meaningful way," the protective order said. "We find that allowing limited access to competitively sensitive materials pursuant to the procedures set forth in the attached Protective Order allows the public (through appropriate representatives) to do so while also protecting competitively sensitive information from improper disclosure and use."

The FCC and Justice Department are currently vetting the deal, DOJ focused on anti-trust and the FCC on larger public interest issues as well as competition.

The FCC last week asked for a lot more data from both companies on the deal, but follow-up requests are not unusual.

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.