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Commision OKs Adelphia license transfer

The Federal Communications Commission last week approved the sale of the cable systems and assets of Adelphia Communications to Time Warner and Comcast, the exchange of some cable systems and assets between Time Warner and Comcast affiliates or subsidiaries and the redemption of Comcast’s interests in Time Warner Cable and Time Warner Entertainment Company.

The FCC found the transactions, as conditioned, serve the public interest and comply with all applicable statutes and commission rules. It also found that the public interest benefits of the deal outweigh potential harms.

The commission determined subscribers would benefit from the resolution of the Adelphia bankruptcy proceeding as a result of new investment and upgrades to the network. Additionally, the transactions accelerate deployment of VoIP and other advanced video services, such as local VOD programming, to subscribers.

In terms of possible harm to the public resulting from the transaction, the commission found that the deal may increase the likelihood of harm in markets where Time Warner or Comcast has, or may in the future have, an ownership interest in regional sports networks (RSNs).

In approving the transaction, the commission adopted conditions to ensure the deal doesn’t harm the supply of programming to MVPDs. Specifically, it adopted a condition allowing unaffiliated RSNs unable to reach a carriage agreement with Time Warner or Comcast to seek commercial arbitration. In addition, the commission adopted a condition allowing unaffiliated programmers unable to reach a leased access agreement with Time Warner or Comcast to seek commercial arbitration.

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