Thursday, February 13, 2014

Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner Cable likely to face a lot of opposition

Jeffrey Toobin outlined the arguments regarding Comcast’s proposal to purchase Time-Warner Cable.  The two companies don’t compete in any one market, and people no longer have to use cable for media: they can choose wireless, “telephony”, Direct TV, or cable.  CNN Money has a story by Dave Goldman here
Well, for one thing, Direct TV lost the Weather Channel. 
Comcast owns so many content companies:  NBC, Universal, and that means some other movie companies like Focus, Rogue, Relativity.  Could that affect which movies (and that means which filmmakers) are most likely to be seen on their networks?  Could they really give faster download speeds for content associated with one of their companies? 
Tim Lee, of the Washington Post, makes an interesting argument harking back to the days that AT&T was split up in 1984, on The Switch, here
As far as monopoly goes, my experience is that I had Time-Warner in Minneapolis until 2003, and Comcast and XFinity after I moved back to Arlington VA.  Stability of broadband was very good from 2003-2004 (even being restored quickly after Hurricane Isabel in 2003), but became more sporadic from 2005-2008, often slowing down and having intermittent stops during the weekday.  Once, we replaced all splitters.  Since 2009, stability seems to have improved considerably, as has robustness when there are severe thunderstorms or ice and snow. 

Comcast is also entering the home security and smart appliance market, as well as arrangement to integrate land and mobile phone service in order to implement “smart home” technology and improve the ability of property owners to monitor homes when traveling (making it hacker-proof is still an issue).  There is a complicated procedure for stopping robo calls, which I have yet to install.  

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