Comcast promises ‘unique benefits’ from $45 billion merger

 

Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable would give consumers faster Internet, better service and more advanced TV options, the company claimed on Tuesday.

The 180-page notice filed with the Federal Communications Commission formally laid out the company’s argument that the merger of the country’s top two cable companies would benefit the public interest. The filing comes just a day before top Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) executives face scrutiny of the proposal in a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The massive deal, Comcast wrote, “will provide unique benefits to both consumers and businesses throughout the combined company’s service area, and broadly advance the public interest in multiple concrete ways."

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"Together, Comcast and TWC will bring to millions of households and businesses of all sizes the next generation of broadband Internet, video, voice, and related technologies and services, and will compete more effectively against communications, media, and technology providers with national and global scale," it added.

The two companies announced their plans to join together in February.

If regulators let the deal go forward, the resulting company would be in 19 of the top 20 cable markets and control about 40 percent of the country’s broadband Internet market, though executives have been quick to note that they do not currently compete in any of the same areas. The firm would drop about 3 million subscribers to control slightly less than 30 percent of the cable market, the traditional line on media consolidation.

Some public interest advocates and lawmakers like Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) have come out against the deal, warning it would too heavily consolidate the market, drive up prices and lead to bad service.

In the FCC filing, Comcast denied those claims, asserting “there is no credible theory of harm arising from the transaction.” 

In addition to the FCC, the Justice Department is also involved in approving the deal.

The merger would also extend Comcast’s commitment to abide by the FCC’s “net neutrality" rules, which mandate that all websites are treated equally, to Time Warner Cable subscribers.

A top appeals court overturned the rules earlier this year, and the FCC is in the process of rewriting them. However, Comcast is nonetheless bound to the orders under terms of its 2011 merger with NBC Universal, a commitment that would be extended to the new subscribers. 

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