FCC Putting Comcast/Time Warner Cable Investigation On Hold

On Friday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said that it has extended its time to file responses and oppositions for the Comcast/Time Warner merger from October 8 to October 29. This is due to a motion filed by DISH Network, which said that Comcast didn't fully respond to the Commission's Request to Responses and Oppositions.

The FCC is taking 180 days to determine if the Comcast and Time Warner merger will be in the best interest of the public. As of Friday, the investigation was at day 85, and it will resume once October 29 arrives. Originally, the investigation was expected to be complete on January 6, 2015.

According to Reuters, a number of competitors and consumer advocates have rejected the merger, stating that the combined entity will have too much power over American consumers' viewing habits. Comcast disagrees of course, indicating that Time Warner is not a competitor and that their combined forces would bring better subscription services to a larger consumer audience.

Back in August, the FCC sent questions to both Comcast and Time Warner Cable asking for additional information about their broadband and video services, such as their Web traffic management practices. However, the FCC said on Friday that both companies failed to provide enough answers to please the merger reviewers. Comcast disagrees but said it will work with the reviewers to provide the missing information.

"We will work with the staff to determine the additional information the FCC is seeking (including the document production that the FCC had asked us to delay filing) and will submit supplemental answers and documents quickly thereafter so that the FCC can complete its review early in 2015," Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told Reuters.

Currently, the FCC is trying to retrieve Comcast's programming and retransmission consent agreements, but media companies have objected to the collection, saying that these documents are highly confidential. However, the documents have made their way to the Justice Department, which is conducting its own review for antitrust issues.

The delay in the FCC's deadline also stems from a large 850-page document supplied by Comcast. The FCC indicated that this volume of information is critical to the investigation.

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