Today, TechFreedom filed comments on the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. TechFreedom’s filing highlights how the merger would benefit consumers by promoting faster broadband, more affordable service for underserved communities, and Comcast’s budding alternative wireless network.
The merger would benefit consumers.
“This deal will help promote faster broadband for all subscribers of the combined company while helping to bridge the digital divide with affordable offerings for the underserved,” said Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom. “More investment in broadband means faster speeds for subscribers, and Comcast’s management has simply done a better job of investing in the future than has Time Warner Cable’s. Not only has Comcast invested more in faster speeds, it has also expanded its $10/month Internet Essentials program for low-income families, a program that Comcast will extend to TWC customers if the merger is approved.” Since the Internet Essentials program began in 2011 over 300,000 families have signed up.
“Those most critical of the deal are also those who most yearn for greater competition in the wireless market,” noted Szoka, referring to advocacy groups that have long advocated Wi-Fi mesh networks to offer consumers an alternative to 4G wireless networks. “Ironically, it’s Comcast that has built the nation’s largest wireless mesh network, using its routers as hotspots. The merger would expand Comcast’s Wi-Fi network to many consumers and in key parts of the country.”
The video market is rapidly changing.
“Cable, once the only alternative to broadcast, is now just one of many competing video platforms,” said Szoka. “Comcast’s share of the MVPD market would still be short of the 30% cap the FCC has twice failed to justify. Indeed, this would be the third time Comcast has reached that threshold by acquisition — and after both previous acquisitions, its market share over a larger footprint was whittled away. Netflix would still have more subscribers. Comcast’s increased scale will allow the combined company to compete more effectively with Netflix and other over-the-top providers, whose nationwide footprint will give them a key advantage in reinventing video delivery platforms.”
“Given increasing competition from telcos, fiber and Internet video, cable seems to have reached its high-water mark,” Szoka continued. “There is little reason to worry that Comcast’s market share will grow significantly without further acquisitions. The FCC should leave competition concerns to the antitrust agencies, especially those that are really about future deals, not this one. The Commission should focus its limited staff resources on identifying ways that government at all levels can make it easier for telco, fiber and wireless companies to compete with cable.”
Szoka is available for comment at email@example.com.
- “Comcast / Time Warner Merger Won’t Reduce Competition, Actually Expands Net Neutrality,” a press release from TechFreedom
- “Misguided Opposition to Comcast-TWC Deal Shouldn’t Affect the Outcome,” Berin Szoka in The Hill
- “Comcast-TWC Deal Won’t Reduce Competition,” Geoff Manne in The Global Post
- “Comcast / Time Warner Deal Will Expand Net Neutrality,” Berin Szoka in Mashable
- “Don’t Blame Big Cable. It’s Local Governments That Choke Broadband Competition,” Berin Szoka and Jon Henke in Wired.com