By a show of hands, how many think the proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast would be really cool? No no, put down those pitchforks!
Last week the Senate held hearings on the deal, with concerns raised that it could make things even worse for consumers. Do you know anyone in New York with Time Warner Cable that doesn’t have a horror story or three to tell? Do you want the company to have even more clout if it merges with the most dominant cable and broadband provider in the land?
Although Senators worried that the merger might raise already astronomical prices for consumers of cable tv and high-speed Internet, creating an even more powerful national cable behemoth, only one single Senator came out firmly against the deal: Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
How is this possible?
When Comcast acquired NBCUniversal, one of the FCC regulators approving the merger was Meredith Attwell Baker__who is now a lobbyist for Comcast. The new head of the FCC is Tom Wheeler__who previously was a cable industry lobbyist. Get the picture? Meanwhile, the company bundles large sums of money to both political parties.
Over at Time Warner Cable, CEO Robert Marcus, on the job for only a few months, will receive nearly $80 million in “severance pay” if the deal goes through. You read that right.
One of the pillars of American capitalism is competition__that’s why the restaurants in New York are so outstanding. Can you imagine if two mediocre megachains controlled all of them? What it would mean in terms of quality? Price? Service?
Both Time Warner Cable and Comcast have reputations for abysmal customer service. With little or no competition, does any rational person really expect that to improve, or our exorbitant monthly bills to drop?
The sad truth is too many of those we elected to represent us in Washington represent only themselves, with their greedy hands out for the next corrupting donation.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts testified that the proposed merger was “pro-consumer, pro-competitive and strongly in the public interest.”
You’ve got to give it to him__the guy has a sense of humor. Perhaps he should even host his own cable show. I mean, who’s going to stop him?
Our system is broken. And I don’t just mean Time Warner Cable.