Regulators Recommend Approval of Charter-Time Warner Cable Deal – By SHALINI RAMACHANDRAN and JOHN D. MCKINNON Updated April 25, 2016 9:29 p.m. ET


Tough restrictions would be imposed on new company to promote online video competition

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Monday that  several conditions tied to the approval of the Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable merger would mitigate threats to online video competition posed by the deal.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Monday that several conditions tied to the approval of the Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable merger would mitigate threats to online video competition posed by the deal. — Photo: Associated Press

Federal regulators are poised to approve Charter Communications Inc. ’s $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., but they will force the merged company to live up to stringent obligations that don’t apply to its bigger rivals.

Under a deal with the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission, Charter agreed to abandon for seven years several common industry practices that the government feared could threaten the growth of rival online video providers such as Netflix Inc. and Hulu. The company agreed not to impose data caps or charge broadband Internet customers based on data usage, practices that have riled customers.

Charter will also be required to build out its broadband access to two million homes, which would compel it to compete against other cable companies in some markets, according to a person familiar with the matter. That would be a significant move for an industry that has divvied itself up geographically.

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