While new net neutrality rules approved by the FCC will largely stop ISPs like Comcast and merger partner Time Warner from meddling with traffic on their networks, Dish Network warns that the combined company would have plenty of other means to snuff out competition from web-based video providers. A merged Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be just as big a threat to net neutrality as allowing ISPs to block or charge traffic from specific sources, the satcaster argues.
Together, Comcast and Time Warner Cable provide pay-TV to more than 30 million households. That represents a lot of eyeballs for ads, and a lot of money in per-subscriber fees, that TV networks want. Comcast could leverage those big numbers to do major damage to its pay-TV rivals, which increasingly include web-based alternatives to traditional cable and satellite service. When negotiating with a combined Comcast-Time Warner, it’s not farfetched to think that a TV network may one day have to choose between making their content available via an online service or to the cable giant’s audience of 30 million.
Conditions of Comcast’s deal to purchase NBC would prevent such a scenario from taking place until 2018, but after that, critics of the merger say that there’s little reason to believe that Comcast wouldn’t then take the gloves off when dealing with competitors, citing a long history of anti-competitive behavior by the company. Read the whole story on Consumerist.