Comcast Today: What Will a Post-Merger World Look Like?

WSJ offers best- and worst-case scenarios.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the world that might be created by a Comcast-Time Warner merger, one in which the giant company could offer “wireless service, video and the Internet are offered in one convenient package.”

There are two possible outcomes, says Blair Levin, a former Federal Communications Commission chief of staff who helped draft the agency’s road map for increasing broadband access.

In one, the companies bulk up and start competing aggressively, creating exciting new services.

In the other, new competition from technologies such as Internet broadband via wireless or mobile-phone service via Wi-Fi don’t pan out, giving the biggest legacy companies more pricing power than ever.

It is impossible to know which one will prevail, says Mr. Levin, a fellow at the Aspen Institute think tank. “Anybody who thinks they know is probably wrong.”

Comcast folks, of course, would rather you believe the “exciting new services” scenario:

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says his company needs to bulk up to compete effectively with satellite-TV operators, phone companies such as Verizon and relatively new entrants in the video market such as tech heavyweights Google Inc., Apple Inc. and Inc. The cable industry’s traditional regional structure “has limitations that our national competitors don’t have,” Mr. Roberts said this year.

Comcast says merging with Time Warner Cable would increase competition and spark innovation. Comcast told the FCC that the company is studying the possibility of offering mobile-phone service that runs mainly on Wi-Fi.

If approved, WSJ says, look to AT&T to make a deal with DirectTV and Sprint to try to take over T-Mobile.

Other Comcastic headlines:

Given the opportunity to come down favoring or opposing Comcast’s bid for Time Warner Cable Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stood firmly in the middle. “We don’t really publicly state for or against anything,” Shammo told an early morning Miami audience at Jefferies 2014 Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. “We compete with Comcast today; we compete with Time Warner Cable today. One replaces the other (and) we compete with each other.” (Fierce Cable)

Comcast said it will begin to automatically migrate all of its X1 subscribers to an upgraded, more personalized version of its cloud-based video interface this week. During the initial phase of deployment, Comcast has been pitching X1 to new and existing triple-play customers, but will soon look to accelerate the platform’s reach by extending it to double-play customers as well, Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president and general manager, video services, said at last week’s Cable Show in Los Angeles.    At last week’s show, Comcast announced several features that will be coming to X1 soon, including Instant On Demand, which will allow subscribers to restart select shows that are already in progress, and Share To TV, an app that will lets triple-play subs live stream personal video from their mobile devices via the Internet to TVs that are connected to the X1 platform. (Multichannel News)

Comcast Cable, which provides video, high-speed Internet, and phone services to residential customers under its Xfinity brand, has announced plans to open a new state-of-the-art customer support center this summer in Hudson, N.H. With 127,000 square feet of space, the facility has the capacity to seat 600 agents. Comcast said it expects about a third of the seats – or 200 positions – to be filled by the end of the year, including almost 100 new positions. With the new positions, Comcast will have more than 1,700 employees across the state, and more than 5,000 across its Greater Boston footprint. (Boston Globe)