The FCC regulatory approval process for Time Warner and Comcast’s acquisition of Adelphia officially is underway, with the 3 companies submitting an application and public interest statement at the FCC late Wed. The FCC will likely digest the 86-page filing for a few weeks before seeking public comment. It then starts a 180-day clock to review the merger. The deal also needs FTC approval. The bulk of the filing deals with public interest benefits of the merger, highlighting how it would result in faster deployment of advanced services for Adelphia systems. The companies stress that unlike Comcast and TW, Adelphia hasn’t offered telephony. The bankrupt MSO’s 14.4% penetration of HHs passed for HSD lags TW’s 20.8% and Comcast’s 18.3%. Adelphia’s HD penetration is at 2.8% vs 6.7% at Comcast and 5.3% for Time Warner. "While other potential purchasers of the Adelphia assets might well bring a measure of improved performance and innovation to the systems, no other firms have the combination of capabilities, geographic correlation to Adelphia’s systems, and proven track record of the applicants to maximize such benefits," the filing said. — Cable Ownership Rules: The trio of MSOs stressed that cable horizontal ownership rules aren’t a concern. After the deal, Comcast’s share of multichannel HHs increases to 28.9%-still below a 30% cap that was thrown out by a federal court in ’01. The FCC initiated a rulemaking on cable ownership rules earlier in the week.