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Comcast Pretends Google Fiber, Hulu Will Keep Them Honest
by Karl Bode 12:25PM Thursday Feb 13 2014
Comcast today didn't waste much time in paving the way for what they hope will be regulatory approval of their $45 billion planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Needless to say, there's going to be a lot of worries about the impact of letting Comcast grow ever larger, even if the company plans to divest a small chunk of their acquired markets to Charter Communications. Geographically, the deal makes sense for Comcast as it gives them a broader entry into the Los Angeles and New York City markets, where Time Warner Cable has traditionally under-performed.

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While some will argue there's nothing to worry about because Comcast and Time Warner Cable didn't compete, the real concern for many will be sheer marketplace power, with an even larger Comcast having greater leverage than ever to use regulatory capture and ever-spreading usage caps to unfair market advantage.

Worry not, declares Comcast in documents released today to smooth regulators' furrowed brows. A memo (pdf)by the company argues that you shouldn't worry about Comcast's growing size because they'll be kept in check by....Google Fiber:
“In today’s market, with national telephone and satellite competitors growing substantially, with Google having launched its 1 GB Google Fiber offering in a number of markets across the country, and consumers having more choice of pay TV providers than ever before, Comcast believes that there can be no justification for denying the company the additional scale that will help it compete more effectively."
Except as regular readers are well aware, Google Fiber is a great and disruptive product, but it's never going to seriously compete with Comcast in any real scale. As for those "substantially" growing telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon, Comcast omits to note that they're backing away from unwanted markets on a massive scale, leaving Comcast with a stronger monopoly presence than they've ever had.

Comcast then tries to argue in a "public interest benefit summary" (pdf) that companies like Hulu and Amazon will also keep the company in check:
A number of online businesses like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and a host of smaller companies are entering the online video space and trying to position themselves as competitors. While we view online businesses as complementary to our business, previous antitrust concerns about further cable consolidation are truly antiquated in light of today’s marketplace realities."
Please ignore of course that along with broadcasters Comcast co-owns Hulu too, and while NBC merger conditions tied their hands to some degree, Hulu's broadcast-owners are endlessly and collectively working to ensure Hulu is nothing but a glorified ad for traditional TV. Also ignore the possibility that Comcast could use their massive leverage on restrictive licensing deals and usage caps to thwart and hinder streaming companies across the board.

All in all you should simply know that you don't have to worry about Comcast's massive size, because magic dragons, Hulu, and Google Fiber (with all of its thousand or so actual subscribers) will keep Comcast on their best behavior.

143 comments .. click to read

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delusion ftl


4 recommendations

reply to Kommie

Re: By the People for the People

I disagree, the root of the issue is that the government didn't pave nor controls the roadways. And by roadways I mean network connectivity. My friends on the right hate me for this but the government should be in charge of running fiber to every home. But I'm not talking the federal government here per say, the feds didn't pave the road going down the windy lane of suburbia, Municipalities, counties, whatever, the same group that hooks up your water service, should run fiber to every home. Then allow private ISP's (comcast can be included if they want), to offer various services, speeds, options at whatever rates they find competitive. The municipality maintains the infrastructure, but UPS, England trucking, taxi services, carpools and such run on top of the infrastructure providing whatever services they can in an equal competitive environment.

As it is now, various companies own the roadways and charge various rates for their customers to drive their cars on it. If a customer wants to use the freeway, that will cost them more. Some companies don't want to widen the roads or keep them in as much repair, so they set limits on how much driving someone can do, I mean we cant let road hogs use up all the space on the roads right? They charge top dollar for average roads and don't really worry because no one else has roads in their area. If it's really bad and the roads are garbage and narrow, and not safe and a municipality wants to run their own roads, they go above them and block it at the government level.

Unlike some of my friends on the right, I do think there is a place for government, and network infrastructure is one of the places that I think government should be, albeit this is probably mostly left for local government to do. If you have the feds do it, it will be a disaster.

I Void Warranties

Billings, MT

1 edit

2 recommendations

reply to your name
Have you been in a cave for the past few decades?

It's the House and the Senate with the most power. Most of them, in turn, take orders from Lobbyists from large corporations. The President is usually just a figurehead.


Lexington, KY

3 recommendations

reply to openbox9
said by openbox9:

They don't dictate how government works; your elected officials do.

Don't be so naive.

They indirectly dictate how government works. How do you think those officials got elected? These corporations "donated" (for lack of a more appropriate word) money to their campaigns and/or PACs (and sometimes Super PACs) to help them get elected. More often than not those elected officials care more about the interests of their benefactors than they do about the interests of their constituents.

Comcast Peon


2 recommendations

The 3 greatest lies told to mankind...

1. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
2. Of course, I'll respect you in the morning.
3. We (Comcast) always put the public interest ahead of our own.


Lake Placid, NY

3 recommendations


My brain hurts. How does removing a competitor not reduce competition? How is removing a competitor pro-competitive? How is cutting 3 million people off from their current provider even allowed to get this deal approved?

Comcast never should have been allowed to buy NBC, let alone even another major ISP.

Mr Gradenko


2 recommendations

When they

refer to legislation as "antiquated" your backside is about to become a wind tunnel.

united state

5 recommendations

By the People for the People

People are not corporations. The Government should throw everything it has into stopping this takeover.

Comcast would be the Monopoly in the Media world. The merger with NBC was too big.



2 recommendations

Tell the Truth

Im sorry but everything I read here about Comcast wanting to put the Customer first and give them a quality experience is total BS. if they actually told the truth the consumer would know that High Prices and next to no upgrades are expected.

Cool Cat
Happy Valley

6 recommendations

Don't Worry About Our Huge Size !


Do I need to comment.