When the largest company in any arena announces plans to purchase the second-largest company in the same arena, you can hear whatever crumb of competition that currently exists slowly falling from the market. It sounds like the faint cries of men, women, and children, pleading for Google Fiber to save them. It’s really a sad sound. Total bummer.
This clearly biased cable subscriber is at least a bit interested to report that a bunch of US states have also decided to probe the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal, alongside the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
Reuters cites Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania as states that are looking closely into the proposed merger. Reuters also says that there are more, but it is not known yet exactly how many more states are taking a closer look for themselves.
Let’s recall that Comcast and TWC both say that the deal will be of true benefit to their millions of customers.
“This combination creates a company that delivers maximum value for our shareholders, enormous opportunities for our employees and a superior experience for our customers,” said Robert D. Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable at the merger announcement.
Comcast has stated that the deal is not anti-competitive, simply because the two companies’ existing areas of coverage don’t really overlap. Comcast has even said it’s willing to “divest systems serving approximately 3 million subscribers” to “reduce competitive concerns.” That would bring the market share for Comcast/Time Warner to 30 million subscribers, or a little less than 30% of the cable TV pool. The megacompany would have about the same share of the high-speed internet market as well.
“Under this proposed deal, two huge companies would become a behemoth,” said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, who recently came out against the deal. “This has the potential to be a very bad deal for consumers. This industry is notoriously unpopular with consumers due to poor customer service, not to mention ever-increasing bills, and a deal this size doesn’t exactly convince us that things will get better. It’s hard to understand how this kind of concentrated market power, which would account for almost three-quarters of the cable industry, is going to benefit consumers.”
It’s nice to see more people looking into this mess, but it’s important to remember that nothing will ever change and life is a nightmare because cable companies do not, and will not under any circumstances, give a single f-ck about you.
Image via Wikimedia Commons