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WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Free Press filed a “petition to deny” Charter Communications’ proposed $78.7 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The petition, submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, presents a definitive account of how the deal fails both the public interest and the antitrust tests required for regulatory approval.

The deal poses as many problems as Comcast’s failed attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable. It would produce the same consumer harms by exacerbating the problems in a broadband marketplace with very few choices for Internet users. If the transaction were approved, New Charter and Comcast together would form a national broadband duopoly controlling nearly two-thirds of existing customers and the telecommunications wires connected to nearly 8 out of every 10 U.S. homes.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“With this merger, New Charter would be about the same mammoth size as Comcast. And nobody needs or wants another Comcast. There’s no reason for the FCC to sign off on a deal that would create a national broadband duopoly of such immense reach and power.

“New Charter would emerge from this transaction with a whopping $66 billion in debt, a 70 percent increase above the total debt currently saddling the three companies involved in this deal. Charter can justify this price tag to investors in only one way: by promising to use its expanded market power to raise rates substantially and crush online video competitors.

“Leveraging monopoly power is the clear motivation behind this wasteful deal. The merger’s primary architect, John Malone, is a familiar face from cable’s original pay-TV days. Now he’s trying to take advantage of cable’s broadband monopoly, consolidate the video-programming distribution market and stifle competition to pay-TV from independent online video producers and distributors.

“The parties to this deal have failed to show that it would benefit consumers or enhance competition. They can’t point to any merger-specific benefits, and have instead dismissed in unconvincing fashion the deal’s likely harms. Like Comcast’s proposed takeover, this merger would pose a serious danger to the development of the streaming video industry, and thus to further development of the U.S. advanced broadband market.”

Free Press’ petition to deny is available online at

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