The Charter-Time Warner Cable merger could have potentially gotten swift approval in California if its initial status on the California Public Utilities Commission agenda had held.
The proposed deal decision was initially placed on the consent agenda for the May 12 meeting, the earliest it could get a vote after an administrative law judge (ALJ) recommended approval with conditions, according to a CPUC source.
Being on the consent agenda means it would be approved among a group of items considered noncontroversial. The FCC has a similar agenda for its public meetings.
But the merger item has since been moved to the regular agenda, meaning there will be discussion before an individual vote.
It could also be held over to another meeting, in which case that would made known on the "hold" list, but that won't be issued until the day before.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated the FCC's (and DOJ's) conditional approval of the big cable-operator merger, but it has yet to be voted by a majority of the commissioners (Wheeler has voted it).
ALJ Karl Bemesderfer concluded that the difference between Charter-TWC and the aborted Comcast-TWC merger is that, unlike Comcast, Charter is not a content creator, so combining it with TWC does not present a censorship risk, though he said there was opportunity for the combined company to discriminate against online video competitors.
He conceded many of the conditions were codifying promises Charter had already made.
The deal is judged by the CPUC on "how the transaction will affect broadband deployment and/or affordability; whether the proposed change of control is in the public interest; and whether there are any implications for public safety from the transaction."