Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Networking The Internet

Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-they-get-bought-by-comcast-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Regional ISP Charter Communications is fighting back against the potential merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast. Charter had been bidding for TWC before Comcast got involved, and now they're urging shareholders to reject the deal. 'From the regulatory perspective, it is difficult to imagine a transaction that could concentrate the industry more than the proposed Comcast merger,' they said in an SEC filing. James Stewart with the NY Times explains what Comcast would look like if the merger continues — when you add the TWC deal to the NBCUniversal pickup a few years ago, Comcast is starting to resemble a global tech company. He also explains why the deal isn't setting off antitrust alarm bells: 'Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere. Justice Department merger guidelines define geographical markets, which is why regulators weighing airline mergers examine competition on individual routes, not national market share. ... Under conventional antitrust standards, it's pretty much an open-and-shut case.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

Comments Filter:
  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @11:43AM (#46609825)

    Not merged... and they need to compete with each other.

    Currently they don't because the cities and counties don't let them. They set up absurd pole leasing rates and policies that effectively mean only one company can operate in the area. Its a violation of the spirit of the law if not the letter of the law. They need to be split and they need to compete.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't blame just the cities and counties for that.

      The Cable companies went to them and said "Oh woe is us, we can't possibly put up lines and run the risk of somebody else coming in to steal our thunder, please give us an exclusive franchise, and we'll give you a truckload of money" which you can hardly blame the government officials for, it's a perfectly honest bribe.

      They've also gone to your state legislatures and REQUIRED such franchise contracts to be exclusive, and even banned competitors with their ow

      • again, that's illegal... since 98 I think. So that isn't what happens. However, the cities do say "oh we can't possibly have more then one cable running over there or it will be a major inconvenience/eye sore"

        • by ttucker (2884057)

          again, that's illegal... since 98 I think. So that isn't what happens. However, the cities do say "oh we can't possibly have more then one cable running over there or it will be a major inconvenience/eye sore"

          There are still regions in my town where Comcast has a service monopoly. It is in exchange for some public access channels. Woah.

      • "... we'll give you a truckload of money" which you can hardly blame the government officials for, it's a perfectly honest bribe."

        There's nothing "honest" about it, and yes you can blame those officials.

        "They've also gone to your state legislatures and REQUIRED such franchise contracts to be exclusive, and even banned competitors with their own rights to the line (like your power company) from competing."

        Not here.

      • by mgcarley (735176)

        Err... I've seen a bunch of franchise agreements in places we've looked at operating and none of them were exclusive.

        There are other barriers though (company has to be a registered CLEC or cable TV operator, FCC hoops to jump through including registrations and contributions which are simply downright confusing and so forth... oh, and sometimes working with the cities themselves can be a royal pain in the arse and/or painstakingly slow).

        As for banning competition, I think that's a new thing with those munic

    • by mgcarley (735176)

      What are the pole leasing rates where you are? In So IL, it costs $9/year per pole, or about what... $0.75 a month per pole? If you assume 25% penetration (or we say that 1 in 4 houses has cable) & roughly 1 pole per 2 houses passed (judging by what I can see out my window), that means about $1.50/cust/mo goes to poles in built-up areas.

      Granted, it could possibly be cheaper, but it's not as absurd or exorbitant as it seems to be being made out to be.

      Disclaimer: Prices are based on leasing space on Amere

      • The numbers aren't correct. The cost of regulation often inflates the cost or running cable by as much as 50 percent above the cost of the cable. And the ongoing costs can be arbitrary and extreme.

        The larger operators insulate themselves from this with various agreements not available to the smaller operators. This means they pay a lower rate and are interfered with less. That should be offered to everyone without exception.

        Again... when this is done you'll have multiple operators in most large cities at th

        • by mgcarley (735176)

          Which numbers are you referring to? The numbers I quoted are what I pay as direct costs... The cost of regulation is another matter entirely, but even then there are also subsidies offered left, right and centre in some areas which can counteract some or sometimes most of these costs.

          For providers offering phone service, there's usually between $5 and $10 on top of the advertised monthly rate that's taken directly from the subscriber as "taxes and fees" for stuff like 911 (which I think is absurd - other co

  • Comcast cable tv is far behind other cable systems

    so will they make it better or cut stuff from the time Warner systems to make them more in line with Comcast systems?

  • "Time Warner Cable operates in 29 states, but thanks to the old system of regional and municipal cable monopolies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't compete anywhere."

    This is your state government(s) shafting you. The states created laws which allow cable monopolies. Local governments collect a franchise fee on the gross revenue of the cable companies operating within their boundaries. In the eyes of local government, less competition means higher prices which means more tax revenue (without voter feed

  • by Jon_S (15368) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @12:17PM (#46609953)

    When are people and regulators going to wake up and realize that the "well, they don't compete against each other an any areas" is *not* a reason to say this merger is OK, but is a reason why it should be rejected!

    The problem with broadband access in the US is that we don't have competition in most places. Some places have DSL (slow) or Fios/U-verse, but most don't. And no, satellite or 2 GB-capped cell service doesn't count as competition.

    The very statement that they don't compete anywhere is the problem. Things need to be changed so that they compete against each other. That will not happen if they merge.

    • just about every big regulator goes to work for the industry when he's done. It's so common we have a name for it: Regulatory Capture.

      Here in America we've been voting pro corporate right wingers into office since Reagan. They stacked the supreme court and have been chipping away at the gains made after WWII non-stop since those gains were made. It's not a battle I see us winning :(.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's this capitalism I hear so much about? It's meant to stop stuff like this, maybe the USA should give it a go

  • Somehow I've almost always managed to live in one of the small pockets of my state that Charter services, and they're always been awesome. Other than the occasional weeklong power outage or some such natural nonsense, they've been rock solid. I always see all the people constantly bitching about Comcast and thank the heavens that whatever little rural enclave I've ended up in hasn't had them as the cable provider.

  • One of the main reasons why programming is hard, is because computers are slow. This may sound very counter intuitive, but the fact that computers look like they are fast because they make use of many smart tricks, most of which we are no longer aware off. It is important to realize that computers all rely on the memory piramid, where in the top of the memory there is a little very fast memory and at the bottom there is a vast amouth of slow memory (often distributed in a system called The Internet). The ra
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm totally okay with these guys all merging.

    I'm totally okay with comcast charging excessively for connectivity between themselves and other ISPs. It's their wires, they can do what they want with them.

    I'm not okay with the last-mile monopoly these companies have in the majority of the cities they operate in.

    The solution to that is "local loop unbundling" -- which we already have for DSL and for local phone service. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local-loop_unbundling

    If you don't like your DSL provider, you

    • by alen (225700)

      we have this in NYC in some areas with time warner having to unbundle its wires to others. the others are more expensive than time warner

  • I wasn't aware that the entities that sell programming to them were also divided into non-overlapping geographic areas.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you really want to get an idea as to how this is all playing out, you should read Susan Crawford's book, "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age". It's not a happy story, and you'll probably be tempted to start throwing chairs at some point or another, but it is very important from an educational perspective. For the reasons given in the summary, I see no chance that the TWC acquisition will be blocked, and it's entirely possible that Comcast will control essenti

  • CableCos are already monopolies.Stand in line for a half hour at any service center, if you need to be convinced. Any company that has to compete actually has to take care of their customers in a timely manner.

  • The problem here isn't a trust between Comcast and Time Warner. Rather, the problem is a trust between Comcast/Time Warner and the local government.

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

Working...