Netflix to Support Charter Acquisition of Time Warner Cable ... for a Price

Charter Won't Charge Any Website to Deliver Its Content More Efficiently Through 2018

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'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.'
'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.' Credit: Netflix

Netflix will support Charter Communications' $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable in exchange for access to Charter's customers without fees, according to filings the companies sent to the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday.

Charter won't charge any website to deliver its content more efficiently until at least Dec. 31, 2018, the company said in a filing obtained by Bloomberg News. Netflix filed a separate document that said it's committed to supporting Charter's deal for Time Warner Cable, announced in May.

Net neutrality regulations that took effect last month prohibit internet service providers from charging websites to make sure their content reaches consumers more quickly, but the filing may provide Netflix extra peace of mind that Charter won't look for potential loopholes or workarounds.

Netflix opposed the earlier, now-failed bid by Comcast for Time Warner Cable after reluctantly agreeing last year to pay Comcast for direct connections to Comcast's networks. Critics say these payments are a kind of extortion on the cable operators' part.

With settlement-free "peering," neither Charter nor Netflix would pay each other for access to their customers.

"This new policy and the commitment to apply it across the 'New Charter' footprint is a substantial public-interest benefit and will support scaling the internet to meet consumers' growing demand for online services and help foster continued innovation across the Internet ecosystem," Christopher Libertelli, VP-global public policy at Netflix, wrote in the filing.

Charter shares climbed as much as 1.3% to $179.35 at 12:13 p.m. in New York. They had been down prior to the news of Netflix's support.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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