HBO: Reject Charter/TWC/Bright House Merger


HBODish Network has told the FCC the agency should reject the proposed $89B merger of Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House.

Dish argues the merger would enable the new broadband entity to unfairly compete against Sling TV.

Now HBO is singing a similar tune, telling the commission in a regulatory filing executives met with agency officials to tell them a post-merger Charter could thwart over-the-top video services.

HBO recently launched its streaming service HBO Now.

Dish Network claims internal documents show Charter plans to foreclose OVDs, including Dish’s own OTT service, Sling TV, “and deploy usage-based billing,” writes HBO in the ex parte filing.

Charter told regulators the company has no incentive to roadblock online video distributers because Web video is driving demand for high-speed Internet. “”Charter views the availability of OVD services in its footprint as a benefit to Charter, its customers, and OVDs,” writes Charter in one of the few non-redacted sentences in the filing, because much of the filing is marked “highly confidential.”

Charter promised last year it would follow some of the net neutrality rules for three years a s a condition of its merger being approved by regulators, reports MediaPost. The company also promised not to cap broadband data, no charge customers based on data consumption, for that period.

The promises haven’t assuaged fears from Dish and HBO that the merged entity could use its market power to control broadband speed and availability to hinder their services.