Charter Nears BTN Deal

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Then, there were three.

Charter became the latest cable operator to move toward a carriage agreement with the Big Ten Network, announcing this morning that it has reached an agreement in principle to carry the sports service on expanded basic.

Monday night Time Warner Cable and BTN said they had reached an agreement in principle on a distribution pact that should be concluded in time for the operator's subscribers to watch the confernce’s kickoff on Saturday. Sources say that Mediacom is very close to officially joining BTN’s distribution roster.

In a joint statement, Charter and BTN, which is owned by the 11-member schools and Fox Cable National Sports Group, said they are “currently working together currently working together in an attempt to ensure that the majority of these same systems can launch the network on its expanded basic level of service in time for Saturday’s Big Ten college football openers.

Charter operates systems in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and northern Illinois, all within the Big Ten’s eight-state footprint.

The aforementioned operators, as well as Comcast, sat out BTN’s inaugural season over pricing and positioning issues. Comcast signed a deal in June and launched BTN on Aug. 15.

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