Dish’s Ergen Asks FCC to Scuttle Comcast-TWC Merger — Here’s What He Says Is Wrong With the Deal

Jul 9, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen this week laid out his problems with the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in meetings with FCC commissioners, staffers and bureau chiefs, B&C reports. Ergen and Dish are asking the commission to reject the merger.

Ergen said the merger presents "serious competitive concerns" and "therefore should be denied," the story reports.

"Comcast and TWC have argued to the FCC and Congress that their merger would allow them to be more competitive with national platforms like Dish, but according to FCC documents, Ergen told the FCC assemblage that the combined company would have too much leverage over the 'lifeblood of over-the-top video': high-capacity 'cable' broadband connections," the story reports.

Ergen reportedly singled out three "choke" points he believes a merged Comcast-TWC "could use to harm competing for video service: the last mile connection, interconnections, and specialized services," B&C reports.

The report quotes a statement by Ergen and other Dish executives in which they say the merged company "will be able to extract lower prices from programmers, which, in turn, will force programmers to extract even higher rates from smaller pay-TV providers like DISH in order to compensate the programmers for lost revenue. And a combined Comcast/TWC will have the incentive and ability to restrict programmers’ ability to grant digital rights to competing pay-TV and OTT video providers."

The Dish execs also addressed the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger, expressing concern that the combined companies "will also be able to combine their market power to leverage programming content, to the potential detriment of consumers."

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