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State Lawmakers Like Charter-TWC

WASHINGTON — The National Conference of State Legislators didn’t just tell the Federal Communications Commission it should approve the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable.

It went so far as to argue that the FCC must do so, given the agency’s statutory charter to promote advanced telecommunications service.

In a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, NCSL executive director William Pound pointed to Charter’s Internet speeds of 60 Megabits per second and commitment to expand WiFi service, among other facets of the deal.

“As a result of the merger, Charter will absorb Time Warner’s subscribers, thereby allowing them access to considerably higher Internet speeds for no additional cost,” Pound wrote. “We believe that this is squarely in the public interest.” The group does not see any significant antitrust concerns, he said, given that the neither company produces content that could cause “potential internal network management conflicts.”

He even suggested that the FCC was essentially bound to approve it.

“Considering the FCC’s interest in ensuring ‘reasonable and timely’ deployment of broadband networks under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, it appears it would be incumbent upon the commission to grant approval of this transaction,” he said.

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.