FCC Chairman Wheeler Applauds Comcast For Pressing Eject Button On TWC Merger

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York on Monday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler went on record with his thoughts on the now-dead $42 billion bid by Comcast to absorb Time-Warner Cable (TWC), saying that he thought Comcast CEO Brian Roberts made a "really good decision" in choosing to end the takeover attempt rather than continue the fight.


The punditry at large thought that Philadelphia-based Comcast's bid for its New York City rival — which was launched in February 2014 — would sail through antitrust reviews, however, the FCC virtually sealed its doom when they called for a hearing, a disruptive process that carried with it great implications for failure. Wheeler himself indicated as much on Monday, saying it "would be a long drawn out process to challenge our decision.” Thus, rather than roll the dice with the FCC, Roberts opted to instead withdraw the Comcast bid. 

Wheeler also said of the potential merger, that for the FCC "Our concern was that it was not in the public interest to do this", and that it was a "data-driven" decision, indicating that the industry needs to put more long-term and better thought into how it uses the Internet. 

Since ascending to the chairmanship of the 
Federal Communications Commission in November 2013 Wheeler has become an enemy to those who place priority on minimizing the government's role in controlling commerce, notching significant wins that include the implementation of stringent net neutrality rules that will control how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge for the services they provide. Set to be implemented on June 12, these rules have raised significant ire resulting in the filing of lawsuits on behalf of roughly a dozen large companies. 

A former communications industry lobbyist, Wheeler was appointed by President Obama to the FCC chairmanship and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. That said, the House Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology subcommittee submitted a proposal for new FCC requirements last month that Wheeler has said will hamper the organization's ability to address public interest questions going forward, a move that technology publication Ars Technica has characterized as the Republican party's retaliation for the FCC's net neutrality decision.