Newsmax: Charter Data Cap Condition Protects OTT Stream

Newsmax Media, which had argued that Charter had jumped the procedural gun in seeking to have two of its Time Warner Cable merger conditions sunset early, went beyond procedure last week to tell the FCC the early sunset would hurt his business. 

That is according to a conversation between Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, according to an ex parte filing. Ruddy’s focus was again the alleged procedural deficiency. 

Related: Newsmax Says FCC Jumped Gun on Charter Petition 

Charter in June asked the FCC to terminate the seven-year ”no data caps or usage-based pricing“ condition as well as the interconnection condition on its 2016 deal to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. They want the conditions to sunset on May 18, 2021, two years early — in light of the ”dramatic“ changes in the online video marketplace.  

When it imposed the conditions, the FCC said they were to ensure Charter could not “hamper or prevent its current and future online video rivals from expanding, becoming more competitive, or starting up in the first place.” Charter suggests those rivals hardly need protection from the company given that its rival internet-service providers have not had similar conditions and the OTT marketplace has flourished. 

“Mr. Ruddy explained that Newsmax relies on an over-the top-streaming video feed of Newsmax TV to reach Charter subscribers whom it does not reach via traditional linear video packaging,” the filing recounted. “As a result, sunsetting the data cap and interconnection conditions will harm Newsmax’s ability to reach viewers and provide Charter with enhanced gatekeeping power.” 

Ruddy also said Charter should not have been allowed to introduce new economic info in its reply comments saying that was new material that should have been part of the initial petition. He said the public should get to comment on that new economic declaration.


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