Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner continue their lobbying push across the country. Already delayed until next year, some say the entire merger may be in jeopardy as regulators scrutinize the deal and opponents sound off against it. The primary concern is clearly the lack of competition that would result from the deal, leaving frustrated customers fewer options than ever in the face of price hikes and poor customer service that often accompany monopolies.
More recently, the merger has come under fire from Netflix, with CEO Reed Hastings citing concerns regarding net neutrality. Comcast and Time Warner are among the companies with which Netflix has been forced to sign peering deals to ensure uninterrupted delivery of their video content to their mutual customers. Netflix has long complained that they’re essentially being strong-armed by the cable companies into paying these fees. Cable companies on the other hand contend that it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a company which alone accounts for as much as 30% of web traffic to shoulder part of the cost of network upgrades required to accommodate their service. Netflix, however, believes that these ISPs’ inability to deliver content requested by their own subscribing customers should fall on them.
The concerns voiced by Netflix are shared by many Internet users. A company the size of a merged Comcast and Time Warner cable would have unprecedented power to prioritize traffic that reaches their millions of web users, severely impacting the speed and quality of content from thousands of websites and businesses. In all likelihood, priority would be given to the highest bidder, forcing large companies like Netflix to pay up, and leaving smaller companies or those unwilling to pay at a significant disadvantage. Hastings sums up the logic behind such a move in three words: “Because they can.”
While the Comcast/Time Warner merger would create the country’s largest cable provider by far, the cable companies continue to lose subscribers. As more and more Americans drop cable, many young people aren’t signing up to begin with. If this deal is approved at all, it could compound the problems that already have subscribers fleeing the cable companies and their onerous bundles in favor of cheaper and more customizable options.
The price of a cable bundle for one month often exceeds the cost of yearly subscriptions to Netflix, Rabbit TV, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. Think about that. A customer could sign up for all four of those services, giving them access to much more content than cable, for a fraction of the price. That is the future of TV, and no company is better equipped to deliver the Next TV experience than FreeCast Inc, whose products bring thousands of entertainment options from free and premium sources together for a low price. Because FreeCast does not own or deliver the content, Rabbit TV and Select TV are unaffected by the challenges facing Netflix, the cable companies, or those created by the proposed merger. On the contrary, at FreeCast, success for our content partners and savings for customers are our main goals.
Comcast and Time Warner Eager for Merger, if Regulators Allow