INCOMPAS: Court Ruling on Charter Merger Conditions Means FCC Must do More to Protect Streaming Customers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 14, 2020) – In an under the radar court decision today from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court, in a 2-1 decision, vacated two conditions imposed on Charter as a result of its merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The Court overturned conditions imposed by the FCC on prohibiting New Charter from charging interconnection fees, as well as requiring the company to provide a discounted broadband service to its low-income subscribers.
The appellants in this case were three Charter subscribers, who did not provide evidence that the conditions were responsible for the price hikes, and it is important to note that the FCC chose not to defend the merits of the merger conditions before the court.
Charter is also currently petitioning the FCC to allow the cable giant to get out of merger conditions that protect consumers.
In response to the Court decision today, Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS, released the following statement.
“Streaming customers love lower streaming prices, but the cable giants will stop at nothing to raise prices for companies that deliver over-the-top services. Their desire to block streaming and raise prices run counter to free market principles that have powered the streaming revolution.
“It is important to note that this court case was not decided on the merits, but based on whether the appellants had standing, and substantive arguments were not provided as the FCC did not defend the merger's conditions. Ultimately, this stealthy court case simply underscores the need for bolder interconnection clarity and protections from policy makers. To keep the streaming market competitive, creative and affordable we must prevent cable gatekeepers from inflating prices at the point of interconnection.”
INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, is the leading trade group advocating for competition policy across all networks. INCOMPAS represents Internet, streaming, communications and technology companies large and small, advocating for laws and policies that promote competition, innovation and economic development. Learn more at www.incompas.org or follow us on Twitter: @INCOMPAS @ChipPickering