New York Times media columnist David Carr today challenges the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, posing six “serious questions” that Comcast has tried to brush off — including whether Comcast will allow other broadband companies to rise and flourish:
In 20 states, there are significant obstacles and in some cases, outright prohibitions, for municipal broadband efforts and much of that was engineered by the cable industry. In Colorado, North Carolina and elsewhere, well-funded lobbying efforts and public information campaigns supported by companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have fought back homegrown alternatives for cheap, reliable broadband. The big kid on the playground who wants to get bigger does not always play well with the smaller ones.
He concludes: “Some of the reasonable questions are coming from people who clearly know what they are talking about, including a former commissioner and acting chairman of the F.C.C., Michael Copps. ‘There’s a strong case to be made why this merger shouldn’t be approved,’ he has said. ‘It’s just so much power for one company to amass, and it’s not just cable. They’re a broadband company, they’re a broadcast company, they’re new media, they’re old media, they’re telecom, they’re everything.’”