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NY Times: Larger Comcast Would Echo 'AT&T Telephone Monopoly'
by Karl Bode 04:16PM Tuesday May 27 2014
Comcast has argued that people shouldn't worry about their $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable because the two companies don't directly compete. They also have thus far brushed aside concerns about the company's mammoth scale leading to the kind of leverage that could harm smaller competitors in the pay TV space, insisting that companies like Google Fiber and Hulu will keep them on their best behavior.

The New York Times apparently isn't buying it, the paper posting an editorial stating they strongly oppose the merger because it would create a "ma bell" esque media powerhouse:
quote:
The merger will concentrate too much market power in the hands of one company, creating a telecommunications colossus the likes of which the country has not seen since 1984 when the government forced the breakup of the original AT&T telephone monopoly.

The combined company would provide cable-TV service to nearly 30 percent of American homes and high-speed Internet service to nearly 40 percent. Even without this merger and the proposed AT&T-DirecTV deal, the telecommunications industry has limited competition, especially in the critical market for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, where consumer choice usually means picking between the local cable or phone company.
Granted as I've noted more than a few times, Comcast's looking at less competition than ever before whether this deal goes through or not, as AT&T and Verizon cede large swaths of territory they're unwilling to upgrade to Comcast. The Times also doesn't cover another fear: that a larger Comcast means inevitable usage caps data thresholds for almost 80% of the U.S. broadband market.

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Packeteers
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must be a slow news day

for NYT editors to waste space publishing the obvious conclusion,
while totally ignoring how regulators are mostly industry insiders,
so NYT reasoning is falling on bought and paid for deaf ears.
the NYT also ignores Comcast historic purchase of NBC,
which should have been denied as well for similar reasons.

tshirt
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join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
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The NYT...

...has done pretty well being one of the really big monoliths themselves in their business.
You don't suppose that they think they should be fragmented because THEY wield too much power, do you?

mr sean
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4 recommendations

Re: The NYT...

said by tshirt:

You don't suppose that they think they should be fragmented because THEY wield too much power, do you?

Insert Straw Man here.

Even IF The New York Times were the monolith you wrongly imagine they are not currently trying to snatch 40% of the broadband market, nor are they seeking control of 30% of cable transmissions. NYT does indeed produce video content, but it's hardly the content generator that Comcast NBC-Universal is.

BTW... Do you get paid by the word?
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puck0114

join:2005-12-24
Portland, OR

1 recommendation

I don't think I can roll my eyes back far enough in my head to do this comment justice.

Yes

@66.249.88.x
said by tshirt:

...has done pretty well being one of the really big monoliths themselves in their business.
You don't suppose that they think they should be fragmented because THEY wield too much power, do you?

They were very big. But over last 3 yrs they sold off much of their assets to others to prop up their constantly shrinking newspaper business.
Check out section on former assets:»en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_···_Company

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Well, DUH!!

They are just now figuring this out? Maybe they should've been paying attention when they bought NBC/Universal.

I swear.. The stupid.. IT BURNS!
AVonGauss
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Competition

A TWC cable and Comcast merger isn't going to decrease competition in but a few small areas, but the idea that Hulu or Google Fiber is going to keep them in check is absurd.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: Competition

Actually in zero areas. They don't compete. Nothing in terms of who you get to choose from is changing. It wouldn't be any different than TWC going bankrupt and shutting everything off right now.
biochemistry
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Re: Competition

Guess the government should never have broken up Ma Bell.
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Simba7
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Billings, MT

1 recommendation

Re: Competition

No. Ma Bell was broken up, then created laws and regulations so it would never happen again. Them getting broken up.

Now, anyone can be a giant monopoly and get away with it. AT&T is back to their old policies, and others are becoming just like them.

Congrats.
Mr Matt

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NY Times: Larger Comcast Would Echo Unregulated 'AT&T Telephone Monopoly'

Just what consumers need. A gigantic unregulated monopoly. At least AT&T was kept on a short leash by state and federal regulators. With state and local lawmakers bought and paid for, consumers do not have a chance. I will probably be long dead before the feds force Comcast to sign a Consent Decree like AT&T was. Breaking Comcast into three segments, Entertainment, Transport and Internet Access is more likely to further raise prices for consumers. Remember the AT&T Doppler effect. All of the critics were saying how wonderful it would when AT&T was broken up and how much consumers would save. Then came reality when consumers found them paying more for a line and less for long distance. Didn't work out did it.
ITGeeks

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Re: NY Times: Larger Comcast Would Echo Unregulated 'AT&T Telephone Monopoly'

And yet, AT&T is back where they started, they are all compiled back together.

NormanS
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Re: NY Times: Larger Comcast Would Echo Unregulated 'AT&T Telephone Monopoly'

said by ITGeeks:

And yet, AT&T is back where they started, they are all compiled back together.

Actually, they are not; nor can they be until they acquire Alcatel, CenturyLink, and Verizn.
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Norman
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sonicmerlin

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AT&T was broken up vertically. What you're talking out with Comcast is horizontal and would definitely have a positive effect on the industry.

Yes

@50.182.54.x
said by Mr Matt:

Just what consumers need. A gigantic unregulated monopoly. At least AT&T was kept on a short leash by state and federal regulators. With state and local lawmakers bought and paid for, consumers do not have a chance. I will probably be long dead before the feds force Comcast to sign a Consent Decree like AT&T was. Breaking Comcast into three segments, Entertainment, Transport and Internet Access is more likely to further raise prices for consumers. Remember the AT&T Doppler effect. All of the critics were saying how wonderful it would when AT&T was broken up and how much consumers would save. Then came reality when consumers found them paying more for a line and less for long distance. Didn't work out did it.

The AT&T breakup wasn't a victory for consumers. It was a victory for the regulators and the payoffs they then collected. And it was a victory for the stockholders as well. As the breakup unlocked all those assets at "sell assets it in pieces" prices.

Dr Demento
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Re: NY Times: Larger Comcast Would Echo Unregulated 'AT&T Telephone Monopoly'

said by Yes :

The AT&T breakup wasn't a victory for consumers.

I can sympathize somewhat if you look at the breakup of the Bell Company from the standpoint of long term research and development. But I do not see the clear benefit of what a giant vertically integrated NBC Comcast has done, introduce the nice and shiny 'X1 OS' voice activated cable box and DVR?

RubbleRouser

@96.47.226.x
said by Yes :

The AT&T breakup wasn't a victory for consumers. It was a victory for the regulators and the payoffs they then collected. And it was a victory for the stockholders as well. As the breakup unlocked all those assets at "sell assets it in pieces" prices.

A good thing which came out of the AT&T breakup was unbundling. Remember a time when you could buy voice and Internet from competitive providers? As those providers had to compete, the pricing was low, and the peering was good, unlike Comcast who's either congested or chasing down both sides for money.

IowaCowboy
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The breakup WAS good for consumers, look at how cheap phone service is today if you adjust it for inflation.

If Ma' Bell wasn't ever broken up, their would only be one cell phone carrier at three times the price of Verizon and no MVNOs.

Comcast seems very similar to Ma' Bell (or at least want to be). And I'm sure if they had their way, Cogent and Level 3 wouldn't exist and Netflix and Google (YouTube) would be forced to buy their bandwidth from Comcast.

Their was no choice in telecom prior to 1984. It seems to be headed that way with broadband.
--
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anonomeX

@71.207.157.x

"There is another..."

Our "last hope" may be "Google Fiber" -- no, not necessarily Google fiber, but any group or organization using the "Google method" (if that's possible) to bring reliable and rationally-priced connectivity to communities. If it turns out that Google can not only not lose money on the endeavor but make money, then others will eventually follow (presuming Google doesn't actually do it--stranger things have happened).
biochemistry
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Re: "There is another..."

I prefer the EPB method. No cherry picking.
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