By Ariana Bacle
Updated February 13, 2014 at 02:44 PM EST

In a move that will bring together the country’s two largest cable operators, Comcast says it is planning to buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion. The surprise deal is expected to close by year’s end, according to the Associated Press; Comcast reportedly made its bid in order to shut out a competing proposal from Charter Communications.

Though the ink on the deal is hardly dry, it’s already garnering criticism: “It is simply dangerous for a large proportion of our nation’s critical communications infrastructure to be in the hands of just one provider,” John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at the consumer technology advocacy organization Public Knowledge, said in a statement Wednesday. “If Comcast takes over Time Warner Cable, it would yield unprecedented gatekeeper power in several important markets. An enlarged Comcast would be the bully in the schoolyard.”

The combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable will compete with AT&T and Verizon in many places, and is expected to save a total of $1.5 billion in annual costs over a three year period.