FCC hits pause on Comcast-TWC gobble AGAIN

More time needed to review documents, say feds

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case.

The commission said on Monday that it is extending the deadline for its planned review period on the deal, this time due to a cache of some 31,000 newly-discovered documents from TWC, which the FCC had originally requested in September.

"During the week of December 15, 2014, Commission staff learned that in excess of 31,000 responsive documents had not been produced to the Commission due to vendor error, and would be produced on December 30, 2014," the FCC said in a letter [PDF] to attorneys representing Comcast, TWC, and Charter Communications – the latter of which stands to gain some current Comcast customers as part of the deal.

"After Commission staff expressed concern about the delays in production of the missing documents and the privilege log, TWC now advises Commission staff that it will produce these missing documents and a complete privilege log on December 22, 2014."

Due to the delay, the FCC said that it would once again push forward its deadline for review of the deal, this time holding the countdown until January 12.

The hold comes less than three weeks after the FCC put its review of the deal back on the clock after pausing to take a closer look at the firms' finances.

The deal would create a behemoth in the US cable market by merging the country's two largest providers into a single firm. Comcast has argued that because it has little overlap with TWC in its coverage areas, the deal would not reduce competition in most markets.

Opponents such as Netflix, on the other hand, have charged that the proposed merger would create a monopoly and would allow Comcast to extract premiums both from its customer base and from the media companies that deliver programming over cable networks. ®

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