The FCC should not allow the Comcast and Time Warner merger. It would consolidation the ISP industry and strengthen the two geographic monopolies.
The proposed reasons for this merger are an attempt to mislead the FCC and the Public. Comcast promises:
Together, Comcast and Time Warner Cable will make life online better for more people by bringing faster Internet speeds, a more reliable and more secure network, net neutrality protection, low-cost Internet access, and programming diversity to millions of new customers across the country.
Each of the promises are things the public and a good regulatory environment desire, but do not require a merger. That quote is laughable – both company are working against each of these promises. A larger monopoly is not an incentive to improve. A few points to counter the idea that Comcast or Time Warner are acting in good faith:
- Comcast and Time Warner rarely increase Internet speeds in existing coverage areas. It seems as though competition from a small player with better service is the only thing that will bring increased speeds.
- Both Comcast and Time Warner have repeatedly acted to stifle competition in their geographic monopolies. Previously, Comcast sited Time Warner's competition as a reason to allow its merger with NBC. Given the lack of any significant new competition, this merger would increase monopoly power.
- Both Comcast and Time Warner have lobbied against Net Neutrality
- Current regulatory measures of Internet providers are inadequate. The US is falling in rankings comparing Internet speeds across countries. Permitting the continuation of the status quo with this merger will only exasperate the problem.
- "Programming diversity" is not something that either company is lacking. The Public's need is not 'another 100 channels for another $15 dollars a month ($25 dollars a month after the first year).' The growing section of the content market is Internet based, and relies on net neutrality, not programming deals.
- Time Warner has a track record for raising rates. There is nothing to suggest that given more monopoly power, there would be an incentive to lower rates.
The FCC should reject this merger based on anti-trust regulations.