Wheeler: Charter Conditions Create Competition Zone

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that the conditions he has proposed placing on the Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House merger  have created a "seven-year innovation and competition zone," referring to the seven-year length of broadband-related conditions.

In a press conference following the FCC's monthly public meeting, Wheeler was asked whether those conditions signaled a precedent for how the FCC would view future mergers, and what signal it should be sending to the market.

"I think what we did was we created a seven-year innovation and competition zone. That, in terms of access, says that there will be during this period an open opportunity for those who are innovative and competitive to have an opportunity to bring new competition and new services," he said. 

But the chairman did say every issue was looked at on a case-by-case basis and warned against generalizing about other deals.

Wheeler said that the timetable of the deal was in conjunction with Justice, which explained why it had come out this week--it had been thought the decision would circulate last month. "We were working with each other, so that is kind of the answer on the timing," he said.

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.