back to article Comcast Corp to merge with Time Warner Cable in MONSTER $45bn deal

Comcast Corp plans to merge with Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal priced at $45.2bn. The move will bring together the two biggest cable outfits in the US, if the takeover is waved through by regulators in the country. Comcast said it hoped to officially tie the knot with Time Warner Cable by the end of this year. The …

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Anonymous Coward

It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

The merge between AT&T and T-Mobile was blocked, and T-Mobile is now offering cheap deals that are disrupting the market.

And arguably, there is even less competition between broadband companies than between phone operators in the US…!

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FAIL

Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

And just like the AT&T - T-Mobile deal, this will results in thousands of people losing their jobs.

Another parallel - T-Mobile has outstanding customer service while AT&T's sucks.

Comcast has terrific customer service while Time-Warner's is absolutely horrible.

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Headmaster

Some people regret the lost jobs of horse carriage maintenance.

"And just like the AT&T - T-Mobile deal, this will results in thousands of people losing their jobs."

This being a problem how?

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Re: Some people regret the lost jobs of horse carriage maintenance.

Perhaps you can enlighten us as to what the benefit of this merger is, such that it compares to the introduction of the automobile?

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Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

>>>The merge between AT&T and T-Mobile was blocked, and T-Mobile is now offering cheap deals that are disrupting the market.

Which happened because both companies had an overlapping footprint.

This situation does not occur in the Cable market. A TWC customer can't move to Comcast if there is no comcast cable.

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Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

That, in a nutshell, just underscores the lack of competition in the US cable marketplace.

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Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

Exactly, each cable company is already a regional monopoly so for the consumer it only matters in what to put on the check. I'll go ahead and guess that after the merger Comcast customers will notice poor TWC like customer service, former TWC customers notice Comcast's slower network speed and all get to pay about 10% more for the privilege. Oh, didn't mean to forget bonuses for everyone with a Cxx job title.

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Megaphone

Probably the best take on this deal

Perfectly said:

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-monopoly-20140213,0,867041.story

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Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

EXACTLY. The entire US market is run on monopolistic BS corporations talking about "business" while they are running nothing but an oldschool utility monopoly WITHOUT regulatory oversight (FCC never stepped in to stop their scumbag bundling practices, FTC never enforced ANY direct competition) so practically in NYC they sliced up the city and they NEVER ENTER EACH OTHER'S STREETS...

...yes, it's so obvious yet no regulatory body EVER attempted to even investigate it. Corruption and scumbags everywhere.

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Re: Some people regret the lost jobs of horse carriage maintenance.

"This being a problem how?"

Huh? May I ask how this would not be a problem, if I may paraphrase someone clueless...?

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Re: Some people regret the lost jobs of horse carriage maintenance.

It's not like you can choose between the two of them even now. If TWC is in your area, odds are none of the others are. Same goes for Comcast, Cox, whatever. And the reason for this is pretty simple: the communities don't like redundant infrastructure, which would be the inevitable result if two cable companies started overlapping. You'll note that the main competition for cable companies in a given area are the wireless and telephone companies, each of which use separate infrastructure.

In other areas, especially rural ones, the ROI to get to those communities wouldn't make it worthwhile unless the market was captive, and ALL the cable companies know it, so they can basically hold the towns and counties hostage with "all-or-nothing" offers. That's the natural way of utility companies and other industries where there is a high (in terms of money or undesirability) barrier of entry in the form of up-front infrastructure costs. These kinds of companies tend to form monopolies naturally.

This merger is less the AT&T-T-Mobile merger and more like the GTE-Bell Atlantic merger (which produced Verizon): more geographical and horizontal in nature. I'm just saying this isn't as similar as you think.

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Re: It should be blocked by the anti-trust authorities

"...arguably, there is even less competition between broadband companies than between phone operators in the US…!"

NO! Not arguably: True. I live in Austin, TX. I KNOW!

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Translation

"This transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale."

Translation: "Bend over because Big Cable is going to screw you big time. Again and again. What are you going to do about it? Switch providers? Ha! We don't care what you think because we don't have to care what you think. But you, you have to pay large fees to get ignored by underpaid support people, experience the joy of service degradation for services that compete with what we offer, and lower and lower usage caps despite the fact that equipment and costs keep getting cheaper and cheaper. So go ahead and bend over. Get used to it, we don't care."

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Re: Translation

I liked South Park's take:

South Park - Cable Company

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Re: Translation

You win. "Always our bitch."

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Terminator

Where's Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

"[A] leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale."

Good Lord! I don't even know where to begin with that steaming pile! It's not even WRONG!! It's such a freakin' delusional statement. Time-Warner's customer service is a joke (putting it VERY kindly), while Comcast is Satan Incarnate. I really can't see anything good coming from this unholy union.

/ex-Comcast customer

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Does this mean ... ?

Does this mean that Comcast is the new AOL?

One can only hope it ends so well.

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Re: Does this mean ... ?

I could do with some more coasters

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Boffin

Re: Does this mean ... ?

Given that AOL was for a long time the only ISP in most of the US, it probably is an appropriate comparison. However I doubt it'll have the same ending; AOL's demise was because broadband ate away its market, Comcast and TWC are the broadband in those places. The only way the AOL story would repeat itself is if another broadband ISP were to roll out nationwide and have better service than Comcast/TWC.

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Re: Does this mean ... ?

"The only way the AOL story would repeat itself is if another broadband ISP were to roll out nationwide and have better service than Comcast/TWC."

Have you never heard of Google Fiber?

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Customers to get shafted

I would suggest buying shares in lube, but I'm sure Comcastwarnercablecorp will go in dry.

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Kill it now

Someone please kill this deal. I have Time Warner now and while I do not like Time Warner they're the second best ISP I've ever had. I've had 7 technicians out and been through 4 modem replacements in 14 months. I've made 24 calls for loss of service, and lost service about 30 times. I find Time Warner's prices for cable ridiculously high $30 extra to bundle 20 channels some of which I suspect pay Time Warner for service. (I subscribe to Netfix for $8 and watch what I please when I please) That said Comcast was worse. I paid for business class service with them, $140 a month for the exact same service they provided a residence next door to my office for $35. It took them 4 installation attempts to install the cable properly, and they never had the right tools for the job. I lost service more than 10 times in five months and went through 2 modems. Now that I've moved my business to a location they serve but refuse to install at (even for their customary $300 business install fee) they insist I owe them $700 for service they refused to provide.

Wide Open West of WOW was the best ISP I ever had doing a costly install free and they had 3 outages in 18 months of service with no need for modem or box swaps.

This deal would be bad for me, and bad for competition. I believe it would lead to stagnation in the already poorly functioning ISP market in the USA. Further I use 1TB worth of data on a 15/1Mb line and Comcast would want to cap that at 250GB. I'm not a glutton, that number I expect could be more than 2TB.

Time Warner has been good to it's users not turning over private info such as IP address without a proper court order, and not throttling services.

Time Warner has tried caps before and only backed down because their financial statements showed more data delivered for less cost per unit of data and less cost overall than the year before, thereby showing them to be liars when they said caps and overages were financially necessary. I'm certain under Comcast we'd see caps.

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Re: Kill it now

You want to keep TW rather than Comcast, because you've lost service 30 times in 14 months requiring 7 engineer visits and 4 modem replacements?! That's scary: are Comcast really even worse than that?

Here in the UK, I've had BT engineers visit six times in 3 weeks (all for a single fault - probably a backhaul fault, but their fault-non-finding approach doesn't allow testing for that, so they keep re-testing my phoneline instead) and I'm about ready to jump ship to the cable company instead. They do throttle your bandwidth (lose 10% or so if you pull over 5 Gb during peak time in a day). Only snag is P2P throttling (which I think also caught my SSH uploads when I was with them before).

Even as a die-hard geek with a 78/20 Mbps connection (and online backup) I have never come close to 1 Tb in a month, though! Maybe if I start using my Netflix subscription much more I could come close, then I'd need to change ISP anyway.

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Devil

It is the end times...

This merger will create a monstrous pile of suck to the point where it will become the first (and last) man made black hole. Shortly after the merger is complete the Comcast headquarters will collapse in upon itself from shear suckiness and the rest of the world will rapidly be pulled in after it. Get your last minute shag in now for the world will soon come to an end.

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Ahem, I think perhaps this south park clip sums it up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVhLQIBCckE

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Flame

FIFY

This transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale.

This merger will create a gigantic and unwieldy lumbering beast of a company which will further retard America's broadband expansion efforts, stifle innovation using its government sanctioned regional monopolies, provide the exact same lousy service (both programming and customer) for which our industry is renowned over an aging infrastructure into which we invest only the bare minimum of funds to keep limping along, all while extracting record profits from both our customers and the content providers on the back-end by playing each of them against the other.

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Re: FIFY

The general rule of thumb is that the best countries with broadband are also typically the smallest and/or densest. The big thing retarding US broadband expansion is natural and unavoidable: geography. The US is a big country geographically with lots of rural space in the center. This skews the infrastructure costs upward and makes them less viable. To put it in perspective, consider how much it would probably cost to connect New York and Los Angeles (a very realistic prospect) with high-speed data. Miami to Seattle (longer and more convoluted) would be even worse. And let's not even start with trying to connect a place as remote as Hawaii.

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Re: FIFY

The big thing retarding US broadband expansion is natural and unavoidable: geography. The US is a big country geographically with lots of rural space in the center

This is truly a retarded argument that I keep hearing over and over again. Cable companies don't service rural areas they can't make money in. Many of these remote places have only crappy DSL or dial-up. If geography/density was the only issue we would have some serious broadband at least in major metro areas that are denser than anything in Europe, SK, wherever. The fact is that equally retarded local governments sold their souls to the devil years ago and now the cable companies have absolutely no incentive to provide any infrastructure improvements when they can just continuously pillage their customer base and not worry about competition.

How does the population density argument explain the fact that I have faster broadband on my phone than at home? Shouldn't the cost of building those cell towers out in the boonies make mobile broadband impossible in urban areas too? But apparently they figured out that they can do better tech (LTE) in the cities, and keep older/cheaper tech (EDGE/EVDO/etc) in less populated areas and keep everyone reasonably serviced. Not that the cell companies are much better than Comcast or TW, but at least there is some overlap and competition between them. Honestly my only hope is that mobile+netflix will kill cablecos for good. Fuckin' leeches.

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Re: FIFY

"How does the population density argument explain the fact that I have faster broadband on my phone than at home? Shouldn't the cost of building those cell towers out in the boonies make mobile broadband impossible in urban areas too? But apparently they figured out that they can do better tech (LTE) in the cities, and keep older/cheaper tech (EDGE/EVDO/etc) in less populated areas and keep everyone reasonably serviced. Not that the cell companies are much better than Comcast or TW, but at least there is some overlap and competition between them. Honestly my only hope is that mobile+netflix will kill cablecos for good. Fuckin' leeches."

In many cases in the US, HISTORY gets in the way of cities' building up. Can you perhaps tell me the average AGE of a high-bandwidth city? I strongly suspect none of them to top 100. Meanwhile, the biggest cities in the US are also among the OLDEST (New York predates the country, Chicago, San Fran, LA, etc. were well-established before 1900). Heck, even across the water, I hear London's having its own teething issues with high-speed broadband (no wonder, that's an old city if there ever was one). I'll make it quick: NEW infrastructure in an OLD city (especially one with lots of OLD existing infrastructure) is difficult, especially if it's WIRED tech, which in dense cities probably have to go UNDERGROUND (and New York has SO MUCH existing underground infrastructure they don't even allow implosive demolition for fear of damaging stuff down there). At least wireless infrastructure has one key advantage in a city: you can use the buildings themselves to provide height, although concrete canyons have also proven to hamper ranges. Plus very dense cities present problems of contention and the problems when you try to relieve this problem by crowding masts.

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Re: FIFY

This is truly a retarded argument that I keep hearing over and over again. Cable companies don't service rural areas they can't make money in. Many of these remote places have only crappy DSL or dial-up.

Point is you have big cities on BOTH coasts. In order for these cities to be able to talk to each other in high-speed, you need to make it high-speed all the way down, including out in the boonies. Otherwise, it'll be like planting a two-lane bridge in the middle of a four-lane highway: basically making a chokepoint. This is where geography plays a role. How much do you think it would cost to run high-speed fiber between New York and Los Angeles, considering in the meantime this fiber will have to negotiate two mountain ranges and more than a few rivers (including the Mississippi)? And that's not among the worst-case scenarios (consider a run from Miami to Seattle, longer and more convoluted).

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Anonymous Coward

Monopoly good, competition bad

Welcome to capitalism, US style.

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Anonymous Coward

"This transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale."

Umm, I thought Comcast was buying Time Warner. They both are terrible, they don't create any leading technology or technology for that matter, no groundbreaking products either and a superior network in what way I haven't got a clue.

One plus to this proposed merger, bad customer service from clueless support staff and a slow and overloaded network from both companies will merge quite well. The consumer will not see a change at all. Each customer is worth around $4,100. Comcast is going to have to find a way to recoup that money in the span of several years. I wonder how they will do that.;)

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It MUST BE BLOCKED by the FCC, FTC, DoJ...

...and about half a dozen OTHER regulatory and oversight body, commission or watchdogs, both federal and state...

...I mean C'MON, SERIOUSLY???

And Comcast had the audacity to argue it is GOOD for the f'n customers???

Jesus in heaven, TWC is ALREADY one of the worst, most anti-competitive, biggest monopoly-based scumbag provider here in NYC, playing the most disgusting bundle/lock-in games and Comcast is EVEN WORSE - how on Earth would this go through, SERIOUSLY?

If this deal passes I will make sure that NOBODY in my circles gives a flying f'n cent to Democrats in the next few years, for sure. This rotten deal MUST BE STOPPED AT ANY COST.

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