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Netflix Backs Charter’s Time Warner Cable Bid

Streaming service would get free access to cable company’s customers in exchange for support of deal

Netflix is supporting Charter Communications’ bid to acquire Time Warner Cable in exchange for continued free access to the cable company’s customers.

Charter filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday saying that it would not charge any website to deliver its content more quickly before Dec. 31, 2018.

Netflix then filed FCC papers indicating that it would back the Charter-TWC deal in light of that commitment by Charter.

Netflix did not back Comcast’s failed 2014 bid to acquire TWC after reaching an agreement to pay for access to Comcast customers.

Digital streaming services account for a significant portion of Internet content carried through cable companies’ pipelines. According to a May report by the research firm Sandvine, Netflix is responsible for 37 percent of all downstream Internet traffic during peak hours.

“Netflix believes that 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 D. Libertelli, Netflix VP of global public policy wrote in the filing.

Charter reached an agreement in May to buy TWC for $78.7 billion. That deal came together one month after Comcast’s $45.2 billion bid to buy TWC was abandoned in the face of regulatory skepticism.