Concluding that Altice’s proposed acquisition of Cablevision Systems “is unlikely to have adverse competitive effects,” the chiefs of the FCC’s Wireline Competition, International, Media and Wireless Telecommunications bureaus decreed in an order issued Tuesday that FCC approval of the transaction “will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.”  On the heels of its proposal last year to enter the U.S. cable market with a $9.1 billion offer to acquire St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications, Altice—the fast-rising European cable conglomerate controlled by Patrick Drahi—unveiled plans last September to acquire Cablevision in a cash and debt transaction valuing Cablevision at $17.7 billion.  Last December, Altice received regulatory clearance for its $9.1 billion purchase of Suddenlink, and completion of the Cablevision deal would catapult Altice to the rank of the fourth-largest provider of cable network services in the U.S.

Predicting that the Cablevision deal “is likely to result in some public interest benefits of increased broadband speeds and more affordable options for low income customers,” the FCC cited Altice’s track record of improving the services of cable and broadband companies it acquired in Europe.  Officials of executive branch agencies advised the FCC last month that they had no objections to the deal, and the FCC consented to the transaction.