5 Things Solution Providers Need To Know About Charter's Time Warner Cable Acquisition

Life After The Acquisition

Charter Communications has received clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to acquire Time Warner Cable -- so now what?

The soon-to-be merged companies will form a new industry giant, which has been dubbed "New Charter." The new company will become the second-largest Internet service provider and the third-largest cable provider in the U.S. As such, the FCC and the Justice Department are imposing some conditions on the deal to protect the industry from a large provider that could impact competing providers. And while the acquisition will open up new opportunities for channel partners, New Charter hasn't yet introduced a channel strategy.

Here are five things partners of Time Warner Cable -- as well as Charter partners -- should know about the new behemoth.

Terms And Conditions

While Stamford, Conn.-based Charter has received approval for the acquisition of New York-based Time Warner by the regulatory powers that be, the approval is not without conditions.

The FCC and Department of Justice have told Charter that the new company won't be allowed to impose data caps on broadband users, or charge content providers -- like Netflix -- for access to New Charter customers. The provider also won't be able to create exclusive contracts with programmers in order to keep shows and movies off of streaming video services. These conditions will be in place for seven years, despite Charter's request for a time frame of three years.

The imposed conditions will help ensure that New Charter will be a customer-friendly provider, the FCC said.

Charter, TWC -- and Bright House Networks

Charter has been on a spending spree. In addition to acquiring Time Warner Cable for a proposed $78 billion, the company has also been cleared to acquire Syracuse, N.Y.-based cable and Internet provider Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion.

The combination of the three companies will form New Charter. Bright House Networks is the sixth-largest cable company in the U.S. The provider's network serves about 2 million video subscribers across six states.

Out Of Limbo … Sort Of

Channel partners, along with the rest of the telecommunications industry, have been waiting to learn the fate of Time Warner Cable. Philadelphia-based telecom and cable giant Comcast made a bid for the company in 2015 that ultimately was not approved, and then Charter stepped up as a suitor.

But with the acquisition approved, that uncertainty has been removed for channel partners, according to master agent Intelisys. Now, the channel can get back to the business of selling, said Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation for Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys.

The fate of the Time Warner Cable channel program, however, is unknown for the time being. New Charter will presumably fold the existing Time Warner Cable and Bright House channel programs into one new program along with existing Charter partners after the acquisition is complete.

Partner Opportunity

The existing footprint of both Time Warner Cable and Charter is vast. New Charter's footprint will cover an estimated 24 million residential and business customers.

As another condition of the deal, New Charter also must expand its Internet footprint to include an additional 2 million customers, with 1 million customers located within another broadband provider's service range. This will add another provider option for partners in more geographies, while also giving customers more of a choice because they won't have to be locked into just one carrier based on their location.

Navisite Cloud Coming Soon

Time Warner Cable picked up cloud hosting provider NaviSite in 2011. NaviSite, based in Andover, Mass., provides enterprise-class managed services including application, hosting and cloud services for business customers.

New Charter channel partners will now have access to a cloud play -- something that Charter wasn't offering its partners before.

NaviSite has been offering cloud and network "bundles" for its partners to sell since 2015. These bundles include cloud services with a private, high-quality Internet connection.