The FCC just finished telling Softbank that buying T-Mobile would not be likely. So Comcast outbids Charter for TWC. This will mean that the Top 2 MSO's will combine.
Comcast is already more than twice the size of TWC with 22 million subs and the NBCU division. Sure Comcast's offer to dispose of 3 million of TWC's 12 million subs is a nice gesture, but Comcast will then have over 30 million subs plus a ton of content.
Let's not forget the first ISP to challenge the FCC on Net Neutrality. (VZ was second). As the LA Times reports, "(Comcast is committed to adhering to standards of net neutrality, which forbid its discriminating among Web services in carrying them to subscribers' homes, until January 2018. That was a condition of the NBCUniversal deal, but after that date the shackles are off.)" But we have seen that the FCC is ineffective or too lazy to ever enforce merger conditions.
Netflix is reporting that the largest ISP's have seen a negative progression on performance the last four months.
Bloomberg writes, "Whatever happens to this particular combination, let's keep the bigger picture in mind: High-speed wired connections are now infrastructure, just like bridges, roads, and water. We can't flourish as a country unless someone takes the long view and ensures that American businesses aren't forced to pay whatever tribute Comcast demands in order to thrive."
Consolidation in this space - from Frontier, Fairpoint, Windstream, Level3, EarthLink -- has one big huge cluster for the customers. Every single time!
"The transaction will generate approximately $1.5 billion in operating efficiencies." IN THEORY! The only operating efficiency will be the reduction in personnel. So even more layoffs in the telecom space. Awesome!
The FCC's sole job is to protect the consumer. This is not a pro-consumer move.
We already have enough too-big-to-fail companies with massive debt and flat markets. Think about that: massive debt and flat markets.
"No one woke up this morning wishing their cable company was bigger or had more control over what they could watch or download," said Craig Aaron, CEO of Free Press, a consumer advocacy group, in a statement. "Americans already hate dealing with the cable guy--and both these giant companies regularly rank among the worst of the worst in consumer surveys. But this deal would be the cable guy on steroids--pumped up, unstoppable and grasping for your wallet." [source: fastcompany]
This will be FCC Chair Wheeler's second big decision. (The first was what to do about the Net Neutrality decision which he has not decided).
I wonder how this will effect Bright House Networks, which consists of former TWC systems and is a volume buying partner for BHN.
The cable companies already
collude work closely together in almost lock step. Three of them shared a booth at the last ITEXPO. The cable execs at many levels get together regularly. They don't compete against each other (even less so than the former RBOCs). So I have to ask, Why is this a good thing for consumers? Why is the number 2 cable company even up for sale? Did the Board of Directors look at the business and say that it's better to just cash out?
I know I beat this drum a lot, but the Internet economy is 4.7% of the US GDP. Why would we want to mess with the Internet in the US?
It's not just me. Cable monopolies hurt consumers and the nation.