Comcast – Time Warner Cable Merger Is Bad News For Consumers


Marguerite Reardon of C-Net wrote an opinion piece suggesting the Comcast-TWC merger would be a good thing.

I wrote the following response:


Maggie Reardon has obviously sold her soul to Comcast.   Her opinion piece is an embarrassment. It looks like most of it was copied verbatim from a Comcast press release.

I’ve never had TWC, but I have had Comcast and they have what can only be termed as horrible customer service. If TWC is worse, so be it, but to consider going to Comcast as an upgrade is simply asinine.

As far as Comcast being an innovator: if I had to name one single entity that’s holding back progress it’d be Comcast. The ostensible public face of Comcast is as phony as a three dollar bill. The truth is they are fighting progress tooth and nail, pouring truly obscene amounts of money into lobbying and PR, all bent to protect their failing business model – they are after all, predominantly a cable TV business. And the Internet is changing the world, and is in the middle of making cable TV obsolete.

Just like the automobile changed the world, making horses and livery stables obsolete, the Internet is changing the way the world gets its content. 

Why spend big bucks for 300 cable channels of which you watch maybe a dozen, when you can get what you want when you want over the Internet – all for a lower price? Who needs cable?

Netflix is the spoiler; the true innovator; the disruptor. Netflix is the automobile to Comcast’s livery stable.

All of Comcast’s supposedly “competitive” offerings are just empty shells designed to look good but really do nothing – nothing except protect their traditional cable TV services.

Xfinity On-Demand TV anywhere is a good example of the type of sham they offer. While it’s patterned after Internet al a carte offerings and Netflix, you can only use it if you have a cable account as well as internet with Comcast. A sham!

Another important feature Comcast has introduced are the monthly data caps. 250-300 GB per month might have sounded like a lot when they were introduced, but as progress marches on – as Comcast well knows – those amounts will be almost nothing, and will be used up in no time at all.

HD movies burn goodly sized amounts of data. But 4K TV, which Netflix will soon be streaming, eats truly massive amounts of data. Comcast knows that.

Their goal: with caps and high prices for overages (which they’re just aching to implement – like the wireless operators already have) it will push Netflix and similar services out of reach of most consumers. It will make them un-competitive.

If you’re paying $60 per month for Comcast internet, and $8 for Netflix, then that’s a great deal. But if your usage starts bumping the caps and you start running up overages, then maybe it isn’t such a good deal. That’s what Comcast wants: they want to kill Netflix deader than dead.

To Comcast, anything and everything that threatens their traditional cable TV business is bad news and must be killed.

Hollywood feels the same way. Traditionally they’ve made a goodly portion of their bucks selling DVD’s and licensing content to cable TV. Then along comes streaming video and all of a sudden no one’s buying DVD’s or watching cable. Bad news for Hollywood.

So Hollywood would also love to see Netflix dead. And to that end, they’ve tied Netflix up in really restrictive and onerous licensing deals, all while keeping their best content for themselves and their preferred content delivery system: cable TV.

And there is the last nail in the coffin: not only does Comcast control content delivery, it also controls a very significant portion of content development – with their NBC/Universal arm.

What does that spell, kids? Let me say it: M O N O P O L Y. They’ve got consumers covered from cradle to grave. They have content from its conception to where it lights up the TV set in your living room, and everything in-between. And they’re using what they have to jockey around consumers and kill anything that threatens their present business model.

That is patently unfair.

Taking a huge, monopolistic organization with legendary poor customer service and making it even bigger is a terrible idea. Very bad mojo for the consumers. Very bad.

Comcast and their partners in crime: AT&T, Verizon, TWC and the other large ISP’s are doing more to harm consumers than anything. They’re holding back progress; progress that would provide great value to the consumer, enriching their lives.

Comcast and their buddies are keeping the USA in a cable-TV time warp, while the rest of the world ploughs ahead into the Internet age.

The only rational course is to disapprove the merger of TWC and Comcast, and further, to introduce legislation to regulate the internet service providers as public utilities.

The Internet is an essential public utility. While it might have been a frivolous extra 10-15 years ago, it really is an essential part of everyone’s lives now. So it’s time we started treating it as such – with the government regulating prices, guaranteeing speeds and so on. Just like electricity or old wireline phone service (which coincidentally is also dying or dead).

Can you imagine what it would be like if the government didn’t regulate gas stations and the gallon you got at one station might be half as much as a station down the street? Or if one company owned all the stations in town and the gallon you bought in that town was much less than the gallon you could get elsewhere? That’s what we have without the government regulating internet speeds – all advertising PR and no regulation makes for wildly different speeds that might or might not even come close to their claims. The consumers get screwed and have no recourse.

The government needs to protect consumers and regulate broadband.

Not that that would ever happen, with the many millions upon millions of dollars Comcast and the others have to spread around. But we can hope and dream