The FCC's official review of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger has begun.
The FCC Thursday issued the public notice establishing a comment cycle, which starts its informal 180-day clock on vetting the deal, though it had not shown up on the deal's merger page at press time.
The FCC has already established the protective orders for the sensitive information it will be collecting from the companies. The comment cycle includes the system swaps with Charter and spin-offs to a third, newly created, company, which are contingent on approval of the TWC merger.
Earlier this week, the FCC established the regulatory review team for Comcast/TWC deal, suggesting the public notice was imminent.
The deal was filed April 8, but the FCC has to first establish procedures for protecting sensitive info and insure that the paperwork is all in order, said an FCC official.
Comments and petitions to deny are due Aug. 25; replies and oppositions to deny are due Sept. 23; final comments are due Oct. 8.
"With the FCC's Public Notice on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and related transactions, the next step in the formal review process begins," said Comcast in a statement. "We look forward to a thorough, fact-and-data based comment and review process on questions that are specifically related to the issues raised by these transactions."
"Our filings have shown that considerable consumer benefits occur because of this transaction and there's no diminishment in competition. Of course, we fully expect a robust debate, and that's what the FCC process is for. But we believe that once all the facts are in the record, it will show the significant advantages that bringing these companies together will bring."