Netflix And Dish Ask FCC To Block Comcast-TWC Merger

HardOCP News

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Consumerist has put together a list of companies that are opposed to the Comcast-TWC merger. Among the companies trying to block the deal are Netflix, the Free Press, Dish Network and others.

The merger will give Comcast control over such a huge percentage of residential internet that we won’t be able to grow or innovate anymore. Dish, as a satellite TV company, does compete directly with Comcast for video subscribers. And Dish also has to pay fees to Comcast for every single NBCU network every single Dish subscriber gets.
 

Ashbringer

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Why have Comcast and TWC fight each other over your money when they could merge and monopolize to get even more of your money?

Competition? Please, TWC/Comcast are above that.
 

Spidey329

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Why have Comcast and TWC fight each other over your money when they could merge and monopolize to get even more of your money?

Competition? Please, TWC/Comcast are above that.

But we don't compete because we're already an oligopoly, we just want to own all the cable providers.

/ Sincerely Yours, Comcast

They should block it on grounds of their horrible policies and customer service. Or at the very least, force them to agree to net neutrality indefinitely.
 

kbrickley

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They could compromise ... the cable portion of the merger didn't have too many anti-trust elements since Comcast and TWC were rarely available in the same markets and they could divest the ones where they overlap ... the ISP portion is trickier since the combined company would control about 40% of the high speed market ... they could try and restrict that portion of the merger (but that would likely be a poison pill) ... I am also a little nervous about preemptive anti-trust stuff ... having or obtaining a monopoly is not illegal (under USA laws) ... using the power of your monopoly to engage in predatory or anti-competitive behaviors is ... I would say let them merge and then discipline them if they violate the law
 

dandirk

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They could compromise ... the cable portion of the merger didn't have too many anti-trust elements since Comcast and TWC were rarely available in the same markets and they could divest the ones where they overlap ... the ISP portion is trickier since the combined company would control about 40% of the high speed market ... they could try and restrict that portion of the merger (but that would likely be a poison pill) ... I am also a little nervous about preemptive anti-trust stuff ... having or obtaining a monopoly is not illegal (under USA laws) ... using the power of your monopoly to engage in predatory or anti-competitive behaviors is ... I would say let them merge and then discipline them if they violate the law

Horrible idea... never "let" some one do something you disagree with in hopes of punishment or lesson learning later. It doesn't work that way. Its waaaay harder to get your end result. Once you have a foot in the door...

Look at the affordable health care act (don't care about your opinion on the law one way or the other)... It was neutered and beat up by both the conservatives and insurance lobby, and they are STILL trying to bring bills up to repeal it, lots of times, house alone voted 54 times in 4 years. LOTS of wasted time and tax dollars cause they thought the same way, make it bad hope it fails and they can get rid of it. AND the sites have been a publicity nightmare and they STILL can't get rid of it.
 

CoSWill

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I have had pretty good experience with Comcast customer service over the years. But recently I was having some problems with my set top boxes having sporadic connection loss. The boxes were fairly old and outdated. So, I called them and they told me that they would replace them. I expected a service truck to come by and replace them, but they came by brown truck. I replaced the boxes and then it was up to me to take the old equipment to their office located some 10 miles from me. Taking the old equipment back to them didn't really bother me , but when I pulled into their parking lot I was taken aback by the appearance of their multi-million dollar location. The plants and trees were overgrown, there was dirt and last falls leaves piled up by unused doors. The sidewalks were dirty. The front glass door was broken with plywood screwed to the frame in it's place. I was surprised at the condition of everything.

It is obvious to me that they are not very concerned about the impression they leave on our local community. This location must be lacking in anyone accountable for the disrepair. I now have a different image of what I thought they were.

It seems to me that they should not be able to take over more areas if they are not able to take care of what they already have.
 

spugm1r3

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All in all, this merger seems like a terrible deal for all parties involved including, over the long term, Comcast and TWC. It's the content-delivery equivalent of Samsung and Apple merging, or Microsoft and Google. Innovation stagnates, prices soar, and an expiration date officially appears on the company website. When deals like this happen, companies either grow until they go the way of the dinosaur, too big to find enough to eat, or are dismantled a la the Bell System.

In the meantime, the consumer will get sub-par service and products and a price-gouging reminiscent of a trip to the proctologist.
 

dgingeri

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I have had pretty good experience with Comcast customer service over the years. But recently I was having some problems with my set top boxes having sporadic connection loss. The boxes were fairly old and outdated. So, I called them and they told me that they would replace them. I expected a service truck to come by and replace them, but they came by brown truck. I replaced the boxes and then it was up to me to take the old equipment to their office located some 10 miles from me. Taking the old equipment back to them didn't really bother me , but when I pulled into their parking lot I was taken aback by the appearance of their multi-million dollar location. The plants and trees were overgrown, there was dirt and last falls leaves piled up by unused doors. The sidewalks were dirty. The front glass door was broken with plywood screwed to the frame in it's place. I was surprised at the condition of everything.

It is obvious to me that they are not very concerned about the impression they leave on our local community. This location must be lacking in anyone accountable for the disrepair. I now have a different image of what I thought they were.

It seems to me that they should not be able to take over more areas if they are not able to take care of what they already have.

That sounds a lot like the office in Englewood, CO, near Arapahoe and Revere. They moved out of that office, but looked just like how you describe. As it turns out, that was due to a negligent landlord. Many corporate offices have the landlords take care of the grounds, and some of those landlords can be troublesome.

However, you should see the service center in Aurora, Colorado. It's horrible inside and out. The landlord won't maintain the parking lot ever since Target moved out, so that is in horrible condition. The crime rate went way up in the area when a local gang claimed it for their territory, so getting people to maintain the landscaping got very costly. The inside of the office is dirty, with cheap plastic stackable chairs. Then again, just about everything in that area looks like that now. Most of Aurora is turning into a gang-ridden hell hole. I don't expect much out of them there.

I used to have a decent time with their customer service, too, up until 4 years ago. At first, it was easy. If there was an outage, or if I had to replace a cable box or cable modem, the call was short, to the point, and easy to get through. Four years ago, that all changed.

As I was moving into my last apartment, I had problems getting my new place hooked up. I told them I was just going to move the equipment over myself, and all they had to do was make sure the external hookup was set. They said they'd do that for free, which is how it should be. Well, they didn't show. They didn't show for three days, despite making repeated appointments. I took the whole week off to get moved in. I know people were in and out of that apartment constantly, always with someone in the apartment, for that whole time, yet they said that I was not home. Finally, when they did show up, they claimed they had to set everything up, even though I had already set everything up myself, and they charged me an extra $100. My second move a year ago went about the same, with me not having internet for over a week.

I had to change my cable modem twice in that same time frame. My previous ones were simple and straight forward. I gave them my phone number to get the account, and the mac address of the modem, and they lust switched them over. Not so the last two times. The one three years ago, the person on the phone obviously didn't know how to operate their system to even call up my account. When a supervisor finally helped him with that, it took another 3 hours of going over things before my modem finally worked. The most recent one, they had a hard time even pulling up my current account. Apparently, they had 5 other accounts in my name, closed with my previous addresses, but no account for my current address. The whole time we worked on getting that corrected, he kept trying to sell me on getting cable TV, even though I told him repeatedly that I don't watch TV. After my modem finally started working, he kept me on the line for another 20 minutes just telling me about different packages where he could "save" me money, where I could get TV for anywhere from $5 to $55 extra. They have really, really pushed the sales requirements on their service agents. It's pitiful.

I feel sorry for the people working there. I remember doing call center work, and it was stressful enough, but having sales requirement on top of that is just horrible. It's really no wonder their customer service is so bad. Their management is horrible. It's not the poor people on the phone.
 

dgingeri

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I would say let them merge and then discipline them if they violate the law

When was the last time any politician, Republican or Democrat, pushed for actually punishing any major corporation? Not going to happen. They violate the law all the time and never have anything happen to them expect the weak class action law suits.
 

ghost6303

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If you even have to consider allowing Comcast and TWC to merge, then there is no point in having any anti-monopoly legislation at all...
 

JeffDC

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I would allow the merger and, immediately upon final completion, nationalize the cable TV industry.
 

sfsuphysics

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I would say let them merge and then discipline them if they violate the law
I thought about that as well, then I started thinking about how smaller cities (even many larger ones) couldn't really do shit if Comcast decided to get all lawyery on a city, where a cable company could potentially bankrupt a town in litigation (even if they're in the wrong) is a scary thought and really gives no leverage towards cities.
 

Ducman69

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They could compromise ... the cable portion of the merger didn't have too many anti-trust elements since Comcast and TWC were rarely available in the same markets
That was the whole point to begin with! Their defense is that its not a monopoly issue because they already agreed not to compete with each other, which is ILLEGAL. Its called price-fixing, and something Comcast and TWC executives should be going to jail for. We throw criminals in jail for stealing $200 from a cash register, but $200 billion effectively stolen we reward to an extreme, when in fact it is far more harmful to society at large.
 

kbrickley

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That was the whole point to begin with! Their defense is that its not a monopoly issue because they already agreed not to compete with each other, which is ILLEGAL. Its called price-fixing, and something Comcast and TWC executives should be going to jail for. We throw criminals in jail for stealing $200 from a cash register, but $200 billion effectively stolen we reward to an extreme, when in fact it is far more harmful to society at large.

If they had agreed not to compete (and there was documentation of that), then that is illegal (collusion) and they could be prosecuted for that ... if they choose not to compete then that is legal ...

how would you force companies to compete with each other, unless that is something they wished to do ... you can make the market as attractive as possible but it is ultimately the company's choice of which markets they wish to compete in and with whom they wish to compete ... as long as these decisions are made independently by companies then they are perfectly legal
 

bloodhawke83

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Why have Comcast and TWC fight each other over your money when they could merge and monopolize to get even more of your money?

Competition? Please, TWC/Comcast are above that.

both got a monopoly, they can't even compete against each other.
 

dgingeri

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If they had agreed not to compete (and there was documentation of that), then that is illegal (collusion) and they could be prosecuted for that ... if they choose not to compete then that is legal ...

how would you force companies to compete with each other, unless that is something they wished to do ... you can make the market as attractive as possible but it is ultimately the company's choice of which markets they wish to compete in and with whom they wish to compete ... as long as these decisions are made independently by companies then they are perfectly legal

They don't have overlapping territories, mostly thanks to local governments that set up their local monopolies, but that isn't the problem.

The problem is that together they have far more power to pressure online media companies to have to pay extra to get enough bandwidth to serve their customers. Also, it would put pressure on competing media companies who deliver their content through cable channels.

While they don't directly compete, they do both serve the same market, in different areas, and have the ability to put pressure on other media companies to pay more to be included on their delivery systems, whether cable TV or internet. As one company, the pressure they could exert on competition would increase exponentially. It would be horrible for competing media companies as well as customers. They would, without any merit, cut into the profits of competition and reduce the service for customers. They'd rep in much more money at the expense of everyone else, without having to offer any improvements in service and likely have decreases in service.

The local government have set us up for this. It's their responsibility to soften this blow and open up the market for broadband internet service providers. If the local governments would do this, it wouldn't matter what would happen in this merger. The free markets would fix it all.
 

Ashbringer

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both got a monopoly, they can't even compete against each other.

Only because they're limited to areas they own. If they were to suddenly be allowed to compete with each other then we'd see some real competition. Only in select few areas are they able to compete, very select areas. But even they know that won't last forever.
 
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