The FCC is reviewing the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Charter Communications, and as part of that review, it's looking into how the two companies have dealt with competition from streaming services. In requests sent today and reported on by Bloomberg, the commission asked for documents from the two companies detailing how services like Netflix and Amazon have affected their customer bases, and whether Charter or TWC have blocked or slowed access to those services.
The FCC made lengthy requests for information
The request for information on "online video distributors" was only part of lengthy forms asking for information. Specifically, the commission requested documents relating to "the entry, competitive impact, or the Company’s response to any OVD, including but not limited to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Dish Sling TV, Sony Vue, CBS All Access, and HBO Now." The FCC also asked the companies how cord cutters had impacted their businesses, and for information on customer satisfaction.
Regulators effectively killed the controversial Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger this year, although the FCC made clear that it was not to be taken as an indication of future action against cable mergers. Today's requests are now a window into how regulators are looking at the next proposed merger — specifically, how the merger might end up affecting competition with streaming services. Charter, for its part, has vowed to uphold net neutrality, while Netflix has said it's fine with Charter taking over TWC.
The FCC has asked for the companies to respond to its requests by October 13th.