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Free Press doesn’t like Charter deals

Free Press, a public interest group that seldom sees a deal it likes, isn’t keen on the $56.7 billion Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House combo.

Although the Charter deals aren’t as big a play as Comcast-Time Warner Cable, Free Press charged the three-way merger raises the same troubling issues for consumers and for marketplace competition.

“The cable platform is quickly becoming America’s local monopoly broadband infrastructure. Charter will have a tough time making a credible argument that consolidating local monopoly power on a nationwide basis will benefit consumers. Indeed, the issue of the cable industry’s power to harm online video competition, which is what ultimately sank Comcast’s consolidation plans, are very much at play in this deal,” said Derek Turner, research director for Free Press.

Turner isn’t buying Charter’s argument that it needs more scale to compete.

“Charter’s network is already superior to TWC’s and that of other large cable companies, which proves that you don’t need to be a colossus to succeed in this business,” Turner said.