New York City Approves Time Warner Cable Acquisition, Arises Concerns

March 10
12:36 AM 2016

Franchise and Concession Review Committee of New York City approve the acquisition in a Wednesday's public meeting. Merger between Charter Communication Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. will become the second-largest cable operator in the U.S.

Previously in January, City of New York's Public Service Commission had approved the deal, following commitment from Charter Communication to increase broadband speeds, expand network access in low-income communities and improve customer service. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, as quoted by Bloomberg counsel to the New York city mayor Maya Wiley said, "We are pleased that this merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable is moving forward in a way that ensures they will meet all franchise obligations, and as well as the conditions set forth by the PSC –- and advocated for by the city –- with respect to broadband speed, cost, and availability and job protections."

Charter Communication has agreed to launch initiatives to increase diversity and improve public access program. One of initiative is to appoint three minority members to its board within two years, consist of African American, Asian or Pacific Island and Hispanic American. The company will also hire more minorities and set a position of chief diversity officer to manage the diversity in the company.

"We look forward to successfully completing this transaction and bringing its many benefits to customers in New York City," Justin Venech, Charter Communications spokesman, said in a statement. However, he did not give more details regarding the company's commitment to New York city.

Meanwhile in California, a rejection with the merger arose. One California's state consumer group urged the state of California to reject merger between the companies. The group claim such deal will increase prices and decline quality service. St. Louis Business Journal reported that an independent division of the California Public Utilities Commission, The Office of Ratepayer Advocates rejected the deal in the filing on March 1.

The group said that both companies need to prove the merger will improve the services. That include broadband speeds upgrade and coverage expansion to low-income homes before receiving approval from the state.

Another concern also raised by Time Warner Inc., a former parent company of Time Warner Cable, which since 2009 has spun off its cable channel division to become independent company. According to Chicago Tribune, Time Warner Inc. made a formal filing to Federal Communications Commission on March 3, asking the regulator to further investigate the acquisition plan. Time Warner Inc. suspected that Charter may try to harm streaming video service once the acquisition is approved.

Many people has concerns with the acquisition. Even Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader voiced concern that such deal will create a duopoly in cable service.

Although New York City has approved the Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the full acquisition process need more steps and regulatory approval. Many has concerns regarding the acquisition.

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