Forgot your password?
The Internet Businesses Television

Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters 424

Posted by Soulskill
from the decided-swords-were-out-of-the-question dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This NY Times articles makes the case that Comcast's planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable is part of a strategy to fight back against the millions of people ditching cable subscriptions. 'The acquisition rests on the assumption that as people cut back on their monthly TV plans, the cable lines coming into their homes won't lose their value.' The idea is that switching away from cable TV will simply make consumers more beholden to their internet connections, and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers. The article concludes, 'The steady price increases in broadband rates cast a pall over any cord cutter's dreams. It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

Comments Filter:
  • by biometrizilla (1999728) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:30AM (#46259205)
    What up to now has been unlimited data for one price over cable will become a set of plans with different rates for different data caps. For those who have been screaming about a la carte channels on cable, you'll effectively get them - you'll only pay for what you watch. But it will be on a GB basis, not a channel basis.
  • by zenasprime (207132) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:35AM (#46259219) Homepage

    It's the shitty content. I got rid of cable because I don't actually watch TV any more. Call me a Luddite but I actually read books more then ever. I guess they better start investing in firemen and flame-throwers.

  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:38AM (#46259225) Homepage

    And in that case it will be either that the ISPs has to install firewalls to filter out "unwanted" traffic that otherwise will drive up your bill.

    Unwanted traffic in a somewhat escalating scale:

    • Spam
    • DDoS attacks
    • Child Porn
    • Other "immoral" stuff
    • Competing commercials
    • AdBlocked traffic
    • Competing services
    • Encrypted traffic
    • Unwanted political parties
    • Criticism.

    Don't ever think that this will end up well.

  • "Cord cutting" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:38AM (#46259227)

    I wish they would stop misusing the term "cord cutting" for not subscribing to television while still getting Internet via cable, as it is confusing and stupid. The term originally came about as people stopped paying for land-lines and used their cell phones exclusively instead, and there it made sense.

    In this case, as the article points out, "In most American households, the cable cord is the fastest conduit for broadband service. This suggests the canny strategy by which those once-inescapable cable providers might combat the rise of cord cutters: The cable giants will simply become even-more-inescapable Internet giants."

    Well duh, it's been that way for a long time. You aren't "cutting the cord" by saving a few bucks by not paying for television but still getting Internet over cable. Even 10 year ago, it was like a $10 difference to not get basic cable. Where cable is losing the big money is on all the premium bundles.

  • Try again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:42AM (#46259237) Homepage

    "and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers."

    Nobody in America currently has a choice between Comcast and Time Warner. I hope the DOJ rejects the merger because the resulting company is too big. But the amount of competition in the cable internet market would not change at all.

  • by alen (225700) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:46AM (#46259247)

    the reason cable bills go up and no one has a choice of channels is because Disney, Discovery, Viacom and everyone else constantly raise prices and only offer their channels in one big bundle. and always add more channels.

    when a channel is blacked out on their TV people always blame comcast or direct TV. they should be blaming the channel owner for wanting too much money and not giving any choice of channels.

    comcast might not be a saint, but a bigger comcast will mean that any time a channel owner wants a price increase they risk losing more than half their revenue during the blackout. in the past they would pick a small carrier for the price raise since the effect on revenues was pennies

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:01AM (#46259313) Journal

    and costs are increasing with salary raises

    Citation please. If anything salaries have been broadly flat. I don't know maybe salary growth has exceeded averages among cable providers, possible. As you say those not as many new customers, and more customers who already have cable tv don't need cables run and being more internet savy than 10 years ago do self installs. They should if anything be able cut staff. Both on the installer side and on the back office support provisioning end.

    Upstream and transport network bandwidth is getting cheaper. So that cost should be going down for them too. I don't see much evidence to support them doing any cable plant upgrades to offer more bandwidth to the home. Most of them have little or no competition so they are content to make 50Mbps down / 15 up their max offerings most places and not splitting the segments up and doing more fiber home runs to enable them to offer more. The lack of incentives to continue investment in enhanced cable plant should also if anything be lowering their costs.

    Looking forward if they need more IP bandwidth they can just start scaling back the television offerings that apparently fewer and fewer customers want. Again I don't see their costs going up.

    Frankly this merger if allowed looks more like an opportunity for gouging than anything else. Normally I am laissez-faire type when it comes to markets. I'd say let them merge; but this is a case where these companies only are able to operate in the first place because of government granted rights of way. Either the rights of way ought to be reconsidered and property owners allowed to charge them rent, or we should just start regulating them like public utilities.

  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:04AM (#46259325)
    'The steady price increases in broadband rates cast a pall over any cord cutter's dreams. It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"

    The only way I've been willing to deal with a price increase is when they offer me a stupid amount of extra bandwidth. Oh you want to give me 25/10 service for $5 more? Sure. Oh you want to give me 25/25 service for $1 more a month. Heck yeh! You are offering 100/65 for $35 more a month......FUCK YEH!!!!

    Comcast's idea: we are raising your rates by $5 this year and we are throttling your connect to 7/1. Me: Go fuck yourself and cancel my account. Comcast: wait?! what?!

    Just the past amount of bad blood I've had with cable companies would keep me from doing business with one again. When I bought my house, my real-estate lady thought I was nuts, I checked out all the houses she was going to show me to see if they had cable or FIOS for service (the area around Tampa is broken up into little monopoly zones with either one or the other) and refused to go look at houses that only had access to cable.

    As far as having to "pay" things are moving so fast that in 10 years most of the new shows are going to come from any of the old broadcasters. Comcast doesn't represent so much as a horse buggy whip factory, but a store that specialized in selling and delivery horse buggy whips.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:40AM (#46259483) Homepage Journal

    make it so that they can compete and they can try any program they want

    I don't want them to compete, I want them to be regulated. One carrier per region makes more sense.

    I know this will have the usual free market advocates clutching their pearls and fainting, but here's the problem. It costs $X kagillion to cover a region with cable, and $Y kabillion per month to maintain it. Those figures do not change by any significant amount depending on market share. If Comcast is paying $1B to cover a region, and another $100M a year to maintain it, it'll pay that regardless of whether it keeps or loses 50% of its customers. And likewise a competitor will pay exactly the same.

    So adding competition simply increases the amount each company will have to claw back from its customers. If there are three competitors where there's currently one operator, all it means is that the cost of Internet access will tripple. At best you might end up with better customer service. But I'm not sure that paying $210/month for internet access instead of $70 is going to feel better because on the odd occasion I have to call Comt&t the person's friendly and I don't have to wait 45 minutes being told that my call is important to them.

    Fuck that. Regulate them. Regulate the shit out of them. We regulate (and tax, and so on) the wrong things in the US, and then declare regulation (and taxes, and so on) wrong and competition the solution to everything.

    Competition isn't going to help here. At least, not in the way you're advocating. If you want competition, introduce it at layers unrelated to infrastructure redundancy.

  • Future Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srichard25 (221590) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:49AM (#46259515)

    Future cost of cable will be this:
    $150 per month for cable TV + internet
    $140 per month for internet only

    Enjoy your options.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:20AM (#46259669)

    Dont forget that the us taxpayer heavily subsidized the deployment of the lies. Dont perpetuate the lie that the cable companies did it with thier own money.

  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:26AM (#46259691) Homepage

    Right now, only ONE cable company is allowed to operate in any one area. Which means they cannot compete with each other.

    I believed this to be the case too, but was corrected on a Streaming Media forum a few months back, and was informed that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 [] eliminated exclusive cable franchises (or, more accurately, empowered the FCC to overrule such arrangements granted by municipalities). Of course, by 1996, the US cable TV build-out was more or less complete, so there's little opportunity for an upstart to begin laying cable and competing.

  • by Ries (765608) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:47AM (#46259797)
    You do live in cities right? No need to cover the wast empty space between them.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:43PM (#46260359) Journal

    I don't want them to compete, I want them to be regulated. One carrier per region makes more sense.

    Telecoms are massively regulated already. If you want things to improve, you need to look at the regulations and decide specifically what changes to make that will cause improvements. Because you can make things worse with either more regulation, or less regulation. Or you can make them better with more regulation, or less regulation. That's why saying, "I want more!" or "I want less!" is just idiotic; the details matter.

  • Re:Mexico City (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @03:54PM (#46261075) Homepage

    The obvious solution to that is regulation that alows for CLECs in cable and Internet just they way they were allowed for in phone service. This whole stupid mess is just the result of a bunch of Ayn Rand cultists thinking that the market would magically sort itself out if we let all of the jack*ss corporations run amok.

    Los Angeles had multiple competitive DSL providers 15 years ago and it's WAY more spread out than New York City.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan