Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Comcast will be buying Time Warner Cable to the tune of $45 billion. Comcast hopes to have the deal closed by the end of the year (and after the approval of the federal government). More details here on Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2014/02/13/comcast-time-warner-cable/

Yours truly is a customer of Time Warner Cable for Internet and cable TV service, as TWC serves the Milwaukee area. However, my family in Indiana, as well as various online cohorts, are served by Comcast, so I’m familiar with the lengthy list of reasons not to look forward to being served by Comcast. But I’ll list the main reasons to object to such a merger anyway:

  • Previous cable company mergers (or Comcast’s buyout of NBC a few years back) have failed to provide any benefits to customers as claimed; instead, they’ve just hiked cable bill rates even moreso. I’d expect the same to come of a Comcast-TWC merger.
  • Comcast is already too large/powerful as it is in my opinion, and should be broken up if anything—I was against its merger with NBC/Universal as well. (And didn’t think much of NBC merging with Universal even before that…) Of course, “anti-trust” seems too often a forgotten word in Washington these days when it comes to media mergers.
  • The lack of competition for cable and broadband services won’t be helped any, as most cities will still have only one cable company (and maybe a DSL/phone company alternative) to choose from. Of course, some of that’s due to…
  • Comcast (and other cable companies) lobbying state legislatures for anti-competitive laws blocking municipalities from creating their own ISPs.
  • Net neutrality issues, amplified moreso by the recent court rulings overturning the FCC’s fairly weak laws regulating such. Of course, the FCC not ruling broadband services as a “common carrier” status doesn’t help.

Overall, I don’t see anything good about this merger. The only people that’d see nothing wrong with this merger either: don’t know or care about the issues involved; have a financial interest in the companies in question; have zero tech skills; or still think the Internet’s a “novelty”/”luxury” like, well, cable TV, instead of a utility on par with telephone service.

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