The Wednesday night announcement that the largest cable provider in the United States, Comcast, is planning to buy the second-largest, Time Warner Cable, for $45 billion led to a good many responses similar to this one from The Verge
managing editor Nilay Patel:
It has also led to considerable speculation
that the Federal Communications Commission won’t approve the deal. The Los Angeles Times
’ Michael Hiltzik put it rather bluntly
: “There's no way this combination can conceivably be in the public interest.”
He goes on to write that the deal “manifestly would be disastrous” for competition in the world of cable TV and Internet service.
A combined Comcast and Time Warner would have a user base of about 30 million subscribers, more than six times what each of its nearest competitors, Cox and Charter, have.
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Comcast’s executives are clearly aware of those worries and are pushing hard to say that a merger with Time Warner won’t kill competition. A press release issued Thursday morning
touts “pro-consumer and pro-competitive benefits.” It continues:
Through this merger, more American consumers will benefit from technological innovations, including a superior video experience, higher broadband speeds, and the fastest in-home Wi-Fi. The transaction also will generate significant cost savings and other efficiencies. American businesses will benefit from a broader platform, and the Company will be better able to offer advanced services like high-performance point-to-point and multi-point Ethernet services and cloud-based managed services to enterprises.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts went on CNBC Thursday morning
to parrot the “pro-competitve” sentiment and note that there was no overlap between Time Warner and Comcast’s customer bases.
Of course, that point has led to further criticism: