If you’re a cable subscriber, you’ve probably bemoaned the dismal lack of competition in your area once or twice before. And if you’ve been following the ongoing debate around net neutrality, then you were probably equally frustrated when district judges ruled that there were enough competitive Internet service provider options available to customers that striking down open Internet mandates was justifiable. Well, now there’s another reason to be upset about the shrinking pool of options in the cable space, as Comcast Corp. has announced its bid to takeover Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), in a deal that would combine the two largest providers in the United States.
On Feb 12, Comcast revealed plans to buy TWC for $45.2 billion. Though the plan is still in the very early stages and is expected to face fierce opposition, if successful it would completely change the entertainment landscape of the U.S. The merger would increase the footprint of the combined company to reach from coast to coast.
“The financial benefits of this are attractive and will create sustainable benefits for years to come,” Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, said on a conference call on Thursday the New York Times reported. “We do not operate in any of the same ZIP codes,” Roberts said. “We believe this transaction is approvable…pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest.”
While Comcast and TWC do not directly compete, the deal would mean that a single entity would be responsible for a vast majority of the country’s broadband infrastructure, leading to concerns from regulators. Prior to this announcement, Charter Communications was said to have been courting TWC, but that deal was also met with opposition due to concerns about monopolizing infrastructure.
With the provisions of net neutrality currently in question and the prospect for one massive entity presiding over a huge swath of broadband pipes, here’s hoping the deal faces scrutiny for the sake of beleaguered cable subscribers everywhere.