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Be Worried if the Merger of Comcast and Time Warner Happens!

Originally Published February 17, 2014
by Christopher Spaulding

In recent news Comcast has announced they have agreed on a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable for stock options. This has many people worried. You could expect less choices for millions of consumers for cable TV services. This will offer TV producers fewer points of negotiation for distribution which will result in higher costs for consumers through reduced competition for cable services.

In most areas of the U.S. there is virtually no competition for cable services and we're stuck with having to pay for dozens of cable channels that we never will watch in expensive "bundles" of content. Worse, we pay good money for these channels, and then have to endure astounding amounts of advertising while viewing programming on most of them having paid money expecting not to. Another problem is regulation of your internet connection. As Comcast and Time Warner have been quick to point out, cable companies don’t compete against each other, so merging the two biggest wouldn’t necessarily reduce competition. For cable providers, the competitive threat is more from satellite TV and telecommunications giants Verizon Communications and AT&T. And the biggest threat of all comes from internet provided content through the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com, Aereo and other subscription streaming services that deliver movies, sports and TV shows to laptops and mobile devices whenever and wherever viewers find it convenient to watch. Streaming services like these need content, of course. But they also depend on a network, in two ways: First, they need an open Internet that doesn’t discriminate against different types of content or where it is coming from; second, they need broadband providers devoted to improving their technology. Regulators should ensure that the Comcast-Time Warner merger won’t threaten either one.

It has been reported that Comcast is throttling (limits the speed) the speed of data if they detect you are obtaining content from anyone other than Comcast. In a report, Netflix has announced they upgraded their streaming experience. However, Comcast’s average speeds for Netflix users have dropped dramatically in just a handful of months. From January through September of 2013, Comcast bounced around between 2 Mbps and about 2.13 Mbps. But starting in October, their performance fell and by January of this year, their average was closer to 1.5 Mbps. So why did the numbers start plummeting in October? There is now no active rule requiring ISPs to treat different internet traffic the same way. So major networks might actually be getting slower… or they might be throttling some of the traffic moving through them. Either way, should the public allow Comcast to set the standards? Absolutely not! That is why a petition has been created for you to tell your member of congress that you are against the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merge. Please! Take a moment and sign the petition whether you are a customer of Comcast or not to avoid the monopolization of Comcast. Thank You. 

**UPDATE 2/28/14** Netflix agrees to pay Comcast to allow uninterrupted streaming of their content.