back to article Charter can gobble TWC for $78.7bn ... if it bins monthly download caps

FCC boss Tom Wheeler has put out the terms for his watchdog's approval of Charter Communications' $78bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Wheeler said Monday that he has passed along a proposed approval order and conditions for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on. "As proposed, the order outlines a number of …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I smell a rat

    Charter has already said it will agree to the FCC and DoJ terms on the deal.

    Charter agreed to all this before the ink is even dry on the regs? But then again, the regs from the FCC are only good for 7 years or until the new administration takes over.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I smell a rat

      If Charter agrees to this it forms a legal contract and can't be undone by a future administration. Yeah, it is only seven years, but that's takes us to the middle of the next decade. Who knows what the ISP landscape will look like then, maybe uncapped service will have become the norm.

      They may bin the caps but throttle you during busy periods at a certain point, or find some other way around what they agree to. It is all about the wording, and big corporate lawyers are always better at leaving themselves wiggle room than the government is at anticipating their evasion.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Competition? - I've heard of it ...

    I just haven't seen it in the cable industry - very few US cities have competing cable companies so merging them doesn't make much difference to "competition" - on the other hand, Charter is taking on a lot of debt to finance this deal so end-user prices will rise - as will the management salaries.

    The end-game here is that within a few years most of the "TV" companies will be delivering their content via the Internet - so punters are going to need fatter pipes and will get used to paying for them - that's where the money is going to be in the future.

  3. Herby

    Which brings us to "The tragedy..."

    "...of the commons". If there are no bandwidth caps, when 20 or so people start downloading a nice 1080p movie, it might get bogged down a bit. The nice cable has a finite bandwidth, and without some limiting factor, there WILL be a few resource hogs that will probably spoil it for everyone.

    Weather this actually happens will be interesting in any event. At that point, Charter might say "I told you so".

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Which brings us to "The tragedy..."

      All ISPs sell bandwidth data rates. If they can't provide the service they're charging for, they should upgrade their infrastructure.

      Data caps are outright double dipping.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which brings us to "The tragedy..."

        That's a rather simplistic and erroneous statement. They sell consumers a contended connection which can work up to a certain speed. If they are good then it will work at that speed for virtually all the time depending also upon the intermediary networks and the servers at the other end. They also sell dedicated Internet connections where they guarantee speed to their edge routers. These connections cost more on a like for like basis. You may think you have a dedicated connection but in reality you have a well managed contended connection.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which brings us to "The tragedy..."

          Hell, I'd *love* to pay for a dedicated line (@ 250% of residential), but they won't install it to a "residence" here.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Daniel B

        No, ISPs sell connections offering "up to" xxx rate. If you want a guaranteed rate you have to talk to the business side, and be prepared to pay 20x more for your 100 Mbps connection.

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: @Daniel B

          While contention can get you out from serving 100% all the time, having data rates dip to 20% most of the time should be frowned upon. I don't expect my current 10Mbps DSL to run at 10Mbps all the time, but neither do I expect it to run at 2Mbps most of the time. Especially when they're offering 3Mbps packages at less than half the price I'm currently paying for 10Mbps.

          I think ISPs should come forward with both the "up to X" and a guaranteed minimum rate for their offerings. Give the end user a choice between "highly contended" and "low contention" and they might be surprised at the number of people that will pony up extra cash to get guaranteed fat pipes. As another commenter stated, most telcos won't serve business links to residential areas.

    2. localzuk

      Re: Which brings us to "The tragedy..."

      Connections without caps seem to work for plenty of ISPs around the world, including the one I'm using. Caps actually appear to be a relatively new thing, introduced as a way to reduce investment into infrastructure.

      Sure, we buy contended connectivity but its now 2016. If an entire housing estate can't all watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones on Netflix at the same time, then the ISP is doing it wrong.

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