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Time Warner Cable Customers Beg Regulators To Block Sale To Comcast 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the non-compete-clause dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Ars Technica: New York is shaping up as a major battleground for Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. While the $45.2 billion merger will be scrutinized by federal officials, it also needs approval at the state level. TWC has 2.2 million cable TV, Internet, and phone customers in 1,150 New York communities, and hundreds of them have called on the New York Public Service Commission to block the sale to Comcast. Comcast doesn't compete against TWC for subscribers, and its territory in New York is limited but includes a VoIP phone service offered to residential and business customers in 10 communities. "Both Time Warner Cable and Comcast already have monopolies in each and every territory in which they do business today, and combining the companies will reinforce those individual territorial monopolies under a single corporate umbrella, with NBC-Universal thrown in to boot," resident Frank Brice argued in a comment to the PSC posted yesterday.
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Time Warner Cable Customers Beg Regulators To Block Sale To Comcast

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  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:47PM (#47364863)

    Customers: Please don't!

    FTC: Hmm, the customers seem vocal about this one.

    Time Warner/Comcast to FTC: Don't you dare...

    FTC: We'll need to study the issue.

    (One U.S. election cycle passes)

    New FTC Head: What's good for Time Warner/Comcast is good for America! Full steam ahead, job-producers!

    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:04PM (#47364959)

      You forgot:
      America! Fuck yeah!

    • by soren42 (700305)
      Sad, but regrettably accurate if past outcomes predict future behaviours.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by slashmydots (2189826)
      You forgot the part where lobbyists give them $10 million
    • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:23PM (#47365057) Homepage Journal
      New owners: Competition is a sin.
      NSA: One company would be more easy to deal with.
      Federal law enforcement: One company would be more easy to deal with.
      State law enforcement: One company would be more easy to deal with. Can we keep the networks on copper or coaxial cable in use for a few more decades?
      City law enforcement: One company would be more easy to deal with. Optical networks are too expensive to tap. Offer more very low cost mobile plans.
      Customers: Free mobile with my new internet plan on a 24 month contract.
      The freedom of choice to be online sitting at home or on the move. Every 24 months I get a new free mobile phone.... freedom of choice from a huge selection of approved mobile phones.
    • No, it's more like:

      Customers: Please don't!

      FTC: Hmm, the customers seem vocal about this one.

      Time Warner/Comcast to FTC: Don't you dare...

      FTC: OK, you can merge if you meet these tough conditions, and we'll closely monitor that you are doing so.

      (One U.S. election cycle passes)

      New FTC Head: What's good for Time Warner/Comcast is good for America! Full steam ahead, job-producers! You don't need these pesky conditions anymore.

  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:00PM (#47364937)

    The deal will indeed be scrutinized by federal officials, to ensure that campaign contributions are large enough.

    • Yeah, but those companies have more speech, so they should be allowed to use more speech. And those companies are people. And the speech is money. And the legislation that eliminates one potential competitor actually doesn't eliminate any competition.

      Is there ANY way this isn't backwards? Wow.

      • by tysonedwards (969693) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:42PM (#47365445)
        At no position on planet earth could any customer have asked themselves "Do I want to be a customer of Comcast or Time Warner Cable?"

        That is the "backwards" portion of the proposal, namely the presumed backroom deals going on to ensure that customers would be prevented from having choice, and to ensure that should they dislike the level of service offered, their only option would be to move to a location where you have elected to allow a "competitor" to operate unrestricted by your presence.

        The distinction that corporations should have a voice in the political process is itself asinine considering that a corporation is nothing more than a conglomeration of individuals who already possess said voice and can act independently. The removal of campaign contribution caps is itself a travesty considering that it allows for an extremely unleveled playing field. While we are at it, perhaps we should go back to pre-Jacksonian era voting rights and only extend them to individuals who own in excess of 50 acres of property while we are at it; allowing those who want their voice heard to be required to jump through quite specific hoops to buy their way into the system and making those who are "drains on the system" as stated by a our last Presidential Election's Runner-Up sit back and watch.
        • Well said. RE corporations: the standard Republican (conservative?) rejoinder is that unions could always contribute money, but I'm in favor of denying them all. Screw them. All only individual contributions up to $45, adjusted for inflation going forward. Make a law that prohibits politicians and staffers from joining lobbying outfits after their term is up to eliminate the opportunity for deferred under the table contributions. Then we'll finally have a government that responds to the true will of th

  • anyone there cares about customers.
  • Hundreds? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by tomhath (637240)

    TWC has 2.2 million cable TV, Internet, and phone customers in 1,150 New York communities, and hundreds of them have called...

    I'm thinking that's not going to impress the FTC.

  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:06PM (#47365249)

    This is like reading the comments section of a Fox news story. So everyone on slashdot wants to believe their own myopic version of reality so badly they're willing to accept something that so obviously biased, so obviously skewed that it's not dis-similar to a lot of the anti-global warming stories I see elsewhere?

    The Comcast/Time-warner merger involves 32,000,000 customers total. The FCC got a total of less than 2000 comments... good or bad. The article only mentions ONE PERSON that stood up and spoke out against the deal at the hearing. ONE.

    Now, I don't dispute that if you asked the majority of customers they'd probably prefer this deal didn't happen. But to portray it as if there is this massive customer revolt? This submission and that article are, at the very least, intentionally misleading.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      You can enjoy your own phone. Set your own plan on a long list of approved hardware devices under their own in store branding.
      New fashion colors every few months and all the benefits of a dynamic and very competitive consumer hardware market.
      Enjoy the freedom to select from several closed source or fully open source product lines.
      If you like you can even write free or for profit programs for the 32,000,000 customers via dynamic and free to join online marketplace or shop.
      Welcome to your new telco
      • Welcome to your new telco system. One Contract, One Network, Universal Surveillance.

        You mean like half the rest of the world? It's not uncommon for a country to have a single sudo-government agency that runs telecoms like its a utility. Again, you make it sound like we're talking about the end of democracy or something here. 2 Companies merged for gods sakes, it happens all the time. 0.0000625% could be bothered to submit an online complaint form in protest. ONE showed up at a hearing. I had more people complaining than that when I tried to put up a chain link fence 3yrs ago.

        I bet more peo

        • I would argue that those who complain here are not eligable to complain to the FTC, due to being in other contries or just in areas not affected by the merge. As for pseudo-government agencies, if done right, they're the best option. Much like the road, power, and water infrastructure, last-mile telecom infrastructure should be handled by a government agency. This prevents the problems seen in the USA where providers settle into comfortable segmented monopolies, both with the physical links, and with the I
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by tysonedwards (969693) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:49PM (#47365473)
      As a slight point of clarification, one member of the public was granted time during the hearing to speak, and said person pre-request it and was asked to submit their script for review. It was not a "we will now open the floor" situation.
      • As a slight point of clarification, one member of the public was granted time during the hearing to speak, and said person pre-request it and was asked to submit their script for review. It was not a "we will now open the floor" situation.

        And the article makes it sound like the throngs of unwashed masses stormed the gates and threw off the shackles of their corporate overlords. I think I was a tad more accurate in my description.

        • No, that was your asinine assumption. But if you are so worried that only 3 people oppose this merger, why don't you do your own poll and see how many time warner customers want time warner to merge with comcast.
    • The article only mentions ONE PERSON that stood up and spoke out against the deal at the hearing. ONE.

      And that's not by accident. Those hearings have limited seating. It has been well known that corporations pay "plants" to grab those seats well in advance, show up and claim their seat, and do nothing at all during the entire proceeding. Some of them are brazen enough to sleep. This effectively shuts out the dissenters and could be a 1st amendment violation.

    • RTFA: "The PSC merger proceeding has attracted nearly 2,000 comments, the vast majority of which ask the commission to block the sale"

      And your problem with that statement is what now? Also the article used as examples two people and their reasons for opposing the merge.

      Complaining that the article has not listed everyone who oppose this merger is just inane.
      • New York is shaping up as a major battleground for Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

        Battleground eh?
        0.0000625% of the customers complained.
        That's not a battleground, that's one dude with jock itch.

  • It would be nice if someone posted where we (the customers) can protest this sale... I'm OK with TWC right now, but Comcast is the devil. Really don't want them combining.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Top down the political class knows where its re election cash is flowing from and why.
      You are seeking capitalism, entrepreneurship and a vibrant local telco sector.
      Think about your local laws and community broadband.
      http://arstechnica.com/busines... [arstechnica.com]
      Structural separation will ensure any local, state or national provider can offer its network down to homes without been shut out by any one regional monopoly.
  • ... But cable companies still have monopolies for the cities. We do need competition between cable companies like in my area. I can't get DSL, FIOS, etc. I can get dial-up, satellite, etc. but why when cable is affordable and fast. They can be faster and cheaper with competitions! :(

  • The subtitle should be: From the Devil You Know Department.

  • Way too much market power for one company.
  • Every day, every single day, snatch up one employee of Time Warner or Comcast. And you burn them alive in front of their family. Continue until their business model changes.

    • Every day, every single day, snatch up one executive of Time Warner or Comcast. And you burn them alive in front of their family. Continue until their business model changes.

      FTFY

      • Thank you for the fix. I know firsthand that there exist TW employees who are fighting to stop this. They have more reason than we as the customers do, because layoffs almost always follow mergers.

  • The merger will go through, regardless of what anybody says. Dollars are the literal coin of the realm, and Congress is incapable of responding to anything else. And, as has been pointed out, these companies have been spending millions to get their attention. So get ready for lousier service, data caps and higher prices. Because it's "good for the consumer".
  • ...little people, for that's all you lot are. A bunch of beggars. We will decide what's best for you and we will tell our underlings who pretend to regulate us what that is. You will kindly shut up and enjoy your bread and circuses.

    Regards,
    Your Telecom Corporate Overlords
  • I have dealt with Time Warner Cable, specifically in New York City. I have also dealt with Comcast. I think this merger is a natural for them because of several factors:

    • These companies are just like one another. They victimize the consumer.
      • If they say they will come between the hours of 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM, they will tend to come past 3:30 PM.
      • they will not be able to schedule you in again for another week, because you were not there when their technician called.
      • If you call them for technical support for

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