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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.'"
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Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

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  • 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 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nurb432 (527695)

        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.

        And their incentive to do this is what again? ISPs make money off 'spam' ( in the generic sense ) much as the USPS does.. So why would they care? And where else will you go?

        Even our local city government gets a bit of revenue that way, by charging to issue permits to solicit door to door.

        • by firex726 (1188453) <firex726&yahoo,com> on Sunday February 16, 2014 @12:20PM (#46259925)

          You're conflating the issue....

          The sender may pay the your local government for the permit but the end recipient is not. Whereas with this deal, that's what OP Is saying. Same for the USPS, no one has to pay to receive their mail in a bulk package and then filter out the wanted and unwanted.

          It's not like cellular since if I have 10 minutes left on my plan and I need to make a call I know exactly how long I have and can end it without any overages. Whereas with the internet I have no control over if I get DoS'ed, and even if I am, any firewall I install will be past the point of meter so I'll still be charged. Plus video advertisements which would then be directly costing me money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by meta-monkey (321000)

        With that kind of deep packet inspection, they could even alter your data stream. What a bunch of GREAT SERVICE. Comcast is a WONDERFUL COMPANY that can go straight to THE ICE CREAM SHOP FOR DELICIOUS TREATS.

    • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:02AM (#46259317)

      Totally fine with that if allow anyone to lay cable.

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

      make it so that they can compete and they can try any program they want. Non-competitive ideas will get priced out of the market.

      • by Bodero (136806)

        Totally fine with that if allow anyone to lay cable.

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

        What about laying fiber? My cable choice between Brighthouse and FiOS shows this can be done.

        • How many cable companies do you have in your area?

          How many land line phone companies do you have?

          One

          This is by law. Its a stupid law. Change it, and then those companies can do whatever they want with their pricing. If they offer inflated prices people will jump to the other company.

          And for the record, the fiber is usually only allowed by that land line phone company. If YOU try to lay fiber you will get arrested. You can't do it. you can't get a permit. And even if you do, a court will invalidate it.

      • by alen (225700)

        that's only in some tiny hick towns

        the problem is that even in NYC there aren't enough customers for two companies to operate in the same area once you get past the huge capital costs of installing your own cable under the ground or on poles and paying the city rental fees

        • That's the problem is a lot of cities like to collect rent from anybody who wants to lay any kind of infrastructure, and even then they grant exclusivity to one provider.

          The reason google fiber is only in these "hick" areas is because they don't have to deal with these kinds of restrictions. There was one city government that tried to add one of these restrictions to google, so they pulled out of that city, and now their politicians are in hot water over it.

          http://stopthecap.com/2013/10/... [stopthecap.com]

          Just a month earlier, council members including Terry Goodman, Curt Skoog, and Richard Collins seemed intent to pelt Google with a range of objections and unusual questions that suggested a lack of basic knowledge about fiber broadband.

          According to those in attendance, Skoog in particular seemed far out of his depth, questioning if 1,000/1,000Mbps was fast enough to provide connections for 6-12 computer terminals inside a local school.

          I'd do the same

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • Say what?? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:39AM (#46259747)

          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.

          The cost structure you assume is exactly the opposite of what actually happened when phone service was deregulated to allow competition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_local_exchange_carrier [wikipedia.org] Costs to maintain the shared wiring infrastructure were split amongst each operator (ILEC, CLEC) rather than multiplied by each additional operator as you suggest.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          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 that were true, cable Internet service wouldn't slow down as subscribers are added. But it does, and when that happens, it seems to take a lot of time and investment to upgrade the system. So, in different words, you're

          • by evilviper (135110)

            Maybe you're too young to remember, but we had that system for wired telephone service and it was a disaster. The Internet only took off once those highly regulated monopolies were broken up. The resulting market is still over-regulated and far from efficient, but it's a lot better than what we had.

            It wasn't deregulation that broke AT&T's death grip on telecommunications... It was TECHNOLOGY. When microwave links came along, and ANYBODY could put together a nation-wide network without physically layin

        • 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.

      • 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 [wikipedia.org] 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.

      • Municipal fiber? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How about Municipalities or States laying publicly owned fiber next to the publicly owned roads and then having private companies deliver services over those cables so we eliminate the natural monopoly?

        We can run fiber to any number of "central offices" where private companies install their gear to deliver voice, video, data...etc.

        Installing multiple cables to deliver the exact same service seems like a waste of resources.

  • 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.

  • "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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Etherwalk (681268)

      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.

      Yeah. They're literally cutting their own balls off by doing that.

    • Where cable is losing the big money is on all the premium bundles.

      Which they combat by slowly moving commonly viewed 'basic' channels to the next level bundle.

    • Some of us care about that $10 a month. In fact, I didn't get basic cable bundled with my internet until it actually -dropped- the cost of my internet (net cost of basic cable was actually -negative-).

      But what happened next? Comcast decided to switch basic cable from analog to digital to save bandwidth. (Ok, no problem so far - that's actually a good idea). But what did they give basic cable subscribers then? A tiny box which converted the digital signal to 4x3 Standard Definition NTSC television (th
  • by jafiwam (310805) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:39AM (#46259229) Homepage Journal

    Is not be messing with the price all the time.

    Somehow, mysteriously, the price changes slightly every month and it's always up.

    Once the promotions are gone, it creeps up a bit every month. (The promotion ending for '1 year sign up price" is a big jump.)

    Eventually, people start looking at the bill trying to figure out how to reduce it. That act, is what kills them. You don't want people thinking about the bill, you want them to just pay it.

    I'll be dropping the TV / Movie portion of my cable in a month or two (summer means outside, and moving to a single abode again). But I wouldn't if it wasn't $45 a month more than it was when I moved in.

  • 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 drinkypoo (153816)

      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.

      Who cares how big they are if it doesn't change the amount of competition?

      • by thaylin (555395)
        Because it affects the future possibilities of competition. IF there is only one provider in the US then there is no need to allow competition, nice way to prevent it before it gets started.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Because it affects the future possibilities of competition.

          There are little to no future possibilities of direct competition. And the various cable players can always band together to fight indirect competition (such as municipal fiber) which is in fact what has been happening. Sorry, I don't see the difference.

          It's true that in a very few markets there's competition between cable companies. Those markets are very few, however, and they already tend to feature indirect competition.

          • by thaylin (555395)
            So because you feel there will probably never be direct competition screw it and ensure there will never be direct competition? Seems a little cart before the horse...
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              So because you feel there will probably never be direct competition screw it and ensure there will never be direct competition? Seems a little cart before the horse...

              Right now we're talking about cable companies, who can't reasonable share wires. Therefore every cable provider has to build out their own distribution network. In today's economic climate this is essentially unthinkable. When you add that to the long-term contracts granted to cable providers giving them monopoly over the right of way, in many markets there cannot be direct competition. The cable companies have to be destroyed before we can have competition anyway. Might as well consolidate them and then de

              • by thaylin (555395)
                Or, and gosh, I am not sure where I have heard this before, you separate the infrastructure and allow more than one company to sure the cables, similar to the cable companies.. You could also stop the cable giants from blocking things like this, or community fibre, as to prevent their competition and self fulfill your prophecy.
                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  Or, and gosh, I am not sure where I have heard this before, you separate the infrastructure and allow more than one company to sure the cables, similar to the cable companies..

                  Cable companies are already having problems with bandwidth on coax.

  • 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 rayzat (733303)
      I'm regurgitating this from an article I read recently, so hopefully I'll do it justice. By and far the bundles are really the doing of cable companies as a way to try and control per channel costs. The stronger stances the channels have taken on their cut more recently are because they don't want to subdivide their channels anymore. Now the following scenario didn't play out for everyone but it played out for many. The way the bundles started was because channel wanted $x per month because they had y view
  • Cut my cord last year. At the rates they charge and the intermittent and barely-broadband service they provide, I can live without their content.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @09:55AM (#46259287)

    It wouldn't surprise me if these parasites quietly call cord-cutters "deadbeats", just as credit-card companies call customers who pay their bills every month "deadbeats". It'd jive with their big-business culture of greed and entitlement.

    What happened to US antitrust law, anyway?

  • 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 Bruinwar (1034968)
      In 1999 I would only look at homes in locations with broadband. As long as we were moving why not? Our real-estate lady also thought I was nuts. Turned out to very well & I became a Q2 LPB! Now days I have three providers, Comcrap, Wow, & Uverse. Best deal this year is Uverse. Next year, we shall see. Competition is the only way to help the consumer.
  • Nationalization (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:04AM (#46259327)

    If the government is going to allow for basically a single regulated entity to control the majority of cable and internet service in the US, maybe they should just nationalize it and cut out the middle man. After all, what is the difference between a single provider that the government says what it can and cannot do and the government just doing it? Didn't the US learn enough with the "too big to fail" model? This merger has disaster written all over it. If anything, instead of consolidations, they should be breaking up these megacorporations to have more competition, not less.

  • by mr_jrt (676485) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:22AM (#46259405) Homepage

    What you guys need is something akin to what happened with BT here in the UK - Arms-length separation of the infrastructure and the service. Sure, you may only be able to have one cable provider in the city, but if they have to sell non-discriminatory access to other ISPs at the same rates as their own consumer division, then you get the healthy kind of competition. There's a thriving ISP market in the UK, only downside is the big boys keep hoovering up the smaller ones that do too well, meaning if you want to stay away from the big boys you have to keep finding and migrating to a new small one every few years. :(

    BT has these rules because of its ex-monopoly status, but personally I think it'd make perfect sense to apply the same rules universally. BT Retail should be able to provide service over Virgin Media's cable infrastructure in an area if that's the most cost effective way of doing it - don't limit my service options to the infrastructure provider's.

    • by thaylin (555395)
      we only have one provider in a city, so it does not really matter. But in reality if you have a separation why would you be prevented from having more than one operator?
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:26AM (#46259411) Journal
    It is cost effective and quite competitive to bring broadband to the street corner pillar boxes or the neighbourhoods for telephone companies. It is the "last mile", often fraction of a mile, that connects individual homes and wiring inside the homes that is prohibitively expensive for the new entrant. That is the real barrier to entry. But as WiFi spec improves, the last mile could be done over the air. Already this technique of mostly wire, but end nodes connected over the air is proving to be very cost effective in most third world rural areas. I have seen regular home phones connecting to the local cell tower in Bangalore some 10 or 15 years ago.

    Verizon is spending tons of money upgrading last mile to optic fiber. AT&T is already pitching cell tower to home connections. Companies who would be adversely affected if cable companies get too powerful in controlling the distribution channels will fund competitors.

    But, in the end, instead of a monopoly we might end up with a duopoly or at the most three choices for home to internet connections. Still I hope this merger does not go through. Cable monopolies could do plenty of damage before viable competition emerges.

    • It is cost effective and quite competitive to bring broadband to the street corner pillar boxes or the neighbourhoods for telephone companies. It is the "last mile", often fraction of a mile, that connects individual homes and wiring inside the homes that is prohibitively expensive for the new entrant. That is the real barrier to entry. But as WiFi spec improves, the last mile could be done over the air. Already this technique of mostly wire, but end nodes connected over the air is proving to be very cost effective in most third world rural areas. I have seen regular home phones connecting to the local cell tower in Bangalore some 10 or 15 years ago.

      Verizon is spending tons of money upgrading last mile to optic fiber.

      Verizon, if you do some research, has stopped or severely reduced rolling out their optic networks. They have shifted their strategy towards building out their mobile networks. They see, as you do, that the last mile is likely to be a wireless solution. However, they are betting that it's the mobile market (smart phones, tablets, etc.) that will provide this service. Why pay for a separate broadband wired service when you can get similar speeds and experience from your HD tablet connected to your TV via

  • by plebeian (910665) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:31AM (#46259435)
    As a so called cord cutter they way I see it is the cable companies are leveraging their cable TV monopolies to dominate the ISP/Telecom markets. The real anti-trust push should not be to stop the merger of comcast and time warner but to require separation of services in an area where a company has a monopoly. That is to say make them spin off their core networking and content distribution services into a separate company/corporation.
  • by ProfBooty (172603) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:33AM (#46259447)

    and have 2 rate increases on internet services in the same year with no additional speed increase.

  • 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.

  • I've done my part (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir Holo (531007) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:53AM (#46259531)
    As president of my HOA, I allowed Verizon to install FIOS capability to every unit in my complex, for free.

    Now, we are not as a community beholden to Time-Warner, but can switch to Verizon as a provider of all things digital (internet, TV, and phone).

    Both are desperate to sell you "packages" of services, rather than just internet. Screw them. I call once a year and threaten to ditch them for their competitor. The result is a rate reduced by about 40%.

    I do not own a television, nor do I use a land-line phone. I just want internet. Well, that sort of logic falls short with their telephone salespeople. The only threat that works is, "I will totally cancel service from you and will go to your competitor."
  • "As we are going to suck you dry dear customer, and once we control all mainstream content creation and distribution, we will decide how much we screw you."

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:57AM (#46259555) Homepage

    The problem is the cable is not going to be the only fast route into your home forever. Some people with good coverage are already using a home-based LTE router as their only internet connection. As this becomes more widespread and 5G starts rolling out, the cable companies will have another contender to deal with besides FTTH offerings. The nice thing about wireless as well is typicallty a region is served by more wireless providers than cable companies, so more competition will help keep prices low.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Not really. What will happen is cell data will get to be as expensive ( its already more for most people as the true unlimited plans are long gone )..

      Besides, if it ever did become a threat, Comcast would just toss in 'tiered internet' to squeeze them, or just start buying out the smaller companies ( like sprint and t-mobile )

  • "But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever."

    Let me stop you right there. If you live in certain areas of the country and pay for Netflix, it's likely you aren't watching ANY TV over the internet with the recent CDN/peering issues going on.

  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#46259749) Homepage

    So, I attended the Streaming Media West [streamingmedia.com] conference last month, and one of the things I came away with was how the existing players (Hollywood, cable companies, etc.) are adamant about ensuring an "orderly transition to IP-based delivery." That is an exact quote from one of the over-the-top (OTT) sessions I went to, where over-the-top refers to content delivered over IP directly to the user from someone other than the broadband provider (e.g., watching a movie from Netflix instead of from your cable company's video-on-demand service).

    This is very much the point of the "TV Everywhere" systems by which you login with your cable or satellite credentials in order to watch cable/satellite content on a mobile device or set-top box (iPad, Roku, etc.). It's basically a rear-guard action against the cord-cutters: we'll let you watch the same content on any device, provided you pay the same price for it. Keep paying your cable bill, even if you don't watch cable.

    I wrote a long blog about the show here [subfurther.com]. But taking it back to the Comcast / Time Warner deal, the competitive issue is not in individual markets (where, indeed, there's usually only one cable company), but in the power of a combined Comcast / Time Warner to keep creatives in the old system, by using caps, throttling, predatory pricing, and other dirty tricks to hamper genuine Internet TV.

    Presumably, once the Justice Department comes to understand the antitrust implications of this deal, they'll immediately launch an investigation. Of Apple.

  • by tmortn (630092) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:02PM (#46260173) Homepage
    Why is a company 'fighting' its customers desires? It would be one thing if the idea of reduced cost internet service was financially impossible to support, but that just is not the case. Witness the comparison to broadband pricing in other countries. To make things truly silly on that front there is a lot of talk about the service providers double charging bandwidth... that is charging the consumer for access and the content creator for delivery. Absolute madness in terms of what a healthy market for cable and/or broadband service should be. Also, I have never quite understood the cord cutting phrase for internet service. It makes sense when cutting landline phone service in favor of cellular but not with regards to internet service and it never has. LTE is the first wireless technology that might be a viable alternative but it really doesn't have the capacity to absorb a mass migration. Serious population level uses of bandwidth is still entirely reliant on landline connections. Instead of cord cutting I'd say it is more about rejecting the entire TV model of content consumption in favor of a more customer oriented experience. The scheduled commercial broadcast model made sense prior to the advent of the internet. Now there is a much better solution and the old way really needs to adapt to the new realities of technology. Instead of fighting services like Areo, Netflix etc... these companies should be embracing them. They will win eventually.

    As for the issue of Comcast or Verizon choking services like Netflix, The FCC needs to get off its keister and fix the debacle it made of net neutrality. There are some days I really wish Google/Apple etc... would band together for a hostile takeover of the last mile trolls and reduce them to dumb pipe service providers to lower the access bar for all the content they aggregate. For them a low margin dumb pipe ISP environment would seriously pump up their content distribution capabilities because more folks could afford more access. It seems pretty obvious the telecom industry still holds to much sway over the congress critters to think government will ever roll back their current 'entitled' last mile troll position on its own. In fact they will likely end up being a puppet used by telecom to fight tooth and nail against any such attempt... witness the growing body of legislation directly hindering google FIOS efforts. Someone seriouly want to defend those actions as being 'in the publics best interest'?

    Unsurprisingly, I am one of the folks that ditched cable TV. Even when I realized it was an insignificant price drop I still insisted on internet only service. I believe cable TV is broken and has been since they introduced commercials on top of paid subscription. Even so I got a cable subscription once I started living on my own pretty much because it was what you did. Then I realized at one point I hadn't turned on the TV in several months (Everquest) and when I did it was almost painful to try and sit through a typical broadcast. It became absolutely galling to me to pay 90+ dollars a month to be bombarded by advertisements. Even premium channels like HBO now bombard you with a significant percentage of advertisement (of their own materials, but advertisement no less). Back when they started you paid your fee to have movies movies movies and more movies. These days any given channel is dishing out something like 20% advertisements and that is if you do not consider the product placement sequences that are now common and unavoidable through any medium. An example of that method is on Bones when Booth and Bones talking about features in Ford vehicles while they 'drive' to or from something on the show. In and of itself I have little problem with that. But when they then break to a ford commercial it is enough to make me want to put a fist through my TV. Arrrrggghhhh.... Charge me, use commercials, or do product placement. Pick ONE. Using all three is just greedy.... worse than that it is a deal breaker. It made it such that it was no longer something I wante
  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @02:57PM (#46260749) Journal

    You don't need any in-depth analysis to figure out what's going to change.

    Look at Time Warner's internet service prices:
    http://www.timewarnercable.com... [timewarnercable.com]

    $15/mo for 2Mbps.

    Then look at Comcast's internet service prices:
    http://www.comcast.com/interne... [comcast.com]

    $40/mo for 3Mbps.

    MORE THAN DOUBLE THE MONTHLY PRICE, FOR JUST ENTRY-LEVEL INTERNET SERVICE.

    The competition between cable and DSL has kept prices down for years. But now, with Verizon switching to FIOS with even more astronomical entry-level internet prices, you will have NO CHOICE in the matter, but to pay much more than you do now, for slower service. How many people are going to just go without internet, when they only occasionally browse the web, and their cheapest option is $40+? Comcast is trying to rape my mother...

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @04:01PM (#46261123) Homepage

    The whole thesis is a remarkably stupid idea. Time Warner and Comcast are NOT direct competitors. They are MONOPOLIES in differet markets. They already have the ability to screw with you if you are trying to cut the cord. You probably have no where to go.

    PERHAPS you can flee from your local cable monopoly to your local phone monopoly. MAYBE.

    All this does is increase the number of cities where Comcast has a monopoly. Ultimately, the real impact of this will likely be with negotating with content providers. Comcast might be able to go all Walmart on Disney.

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