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Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the decided-swords-were-out-of-the-question dept.

The Internet 424

An anonymous reader writes "This NY Times articles makes the case that Comcast's planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable is part of a strategy to fight back against the millions of people ditching cable subscriptions. 'The acquisition rests on the assumption that as people cut back on their monthly TV plans, the cable lines coming into their homes won't lose their value.' The idea is that switching away from cable TV will simply make consumers more beholden to their internet connections, and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers. The article concludes, 'The steady price increases in broadband rates cast a pall over any cord cutter's dreams. It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"

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424 comments

Cellular is the business model (5, Insightful)

biometrizilla (1999728) | about 2 months ago | (#46259205)

What up to now has been unlimited data for one price over cable will become a set of plans with different rates for different data caps. For those who have been screaming about a la carte channels on cable, you'll effectively get them - you'll only pay for what you watch. But it will be on a GB basis, not a channel basis.

tenks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259217)

ay for what you watch. But it will be on a GB basis, not a channel basi
www.bitenedek.com

Re:Cellular is the business model (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 months ago | (#46259225)

And in that case it will be either that the ISPs has to install firewalls to filter out "unwanted" traffic that otherwise will drive up your bill.

Unwanted traffic in a somewhat escalating scale:

  • Spam
  • DDoS attacks
  • Child Porn
  • Other "immoral" stuff
  • Competing commercials
  • AdBlocked traffic
  • Competing services
  • Encrypted traffic
  • Unwanted political parties
  • Criticism.

Don't ever think that this will end up well.

Re:Cellular is the business model (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46259553)

And in that case it will be either that the ISPs has to install firewalls to filter out "unwanted" traffic that otherwise will drive up your bill.

And their incentive to do this is what again? ISPs make money off 'spam' ( in the generic sense ) much as the USPS does.. So why would they care? And where else will you go?

Even our local city government gets a bit of revenue that way, by charging to issue permits to solicit door to door.

Re:Cellular is the business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259243)

What up to now has been unlimited data for one price over cable will become a set of plans with different rates for different data caps. For those who have been screaming about a la carte channels on cable, you'll effectively get them - you'll only pay for what you watch. But it will be on a GB basis, not a channel basis.

When I first signed up for a cell phone, I was paying 30 cents per minute to use the damn thing.

Whatever definition of "a la carte" you have in your head, I don't want it, for the same fucking reason we all don't pay 30 cents per minute to use a fucking cell phone today.

Re:Cellular is the business model (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 2 months ago | (#46259535)

"a la carte" in terms of cable subscriptions means paying for only the 3 channels you actually watch, instead of being required to subscribe to a package of 200 channels to get those three channels. I don't know that that is really comparable to a per-minute rate on a cellphone.

Re:Cellular is the business model (5, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#46259317)

Totally fine with that if allow anyone to lay cable.

Right now, only ONE cable company is allowed to operate in any one area. Which means they cannot compete with each other.

make it so that they can compete and they can try any program they want. Non-competitive ideas will get priced out of the market.

Re:Cellular is the business model (1)

Bodero (136806) | about 2 months ago | (#46259335)

Totally fine with that if allow anyone to lay cable.

Right now, only ONE cable company is allowed to operate in any one area. Which means they cannot compete with each other.

What about laying fiber? My cable choice between Brighthouse and FiOS shows this can be done.

Re:Cellular is the business model (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#46259443)

How many cable companies do you have in your area?

How many land line phone companies do you have?

One

This is by law. Its a stupid law. Change it, and then those companies can do whatever they want with their pricing. If they offer inflated prices people will jump to the other company.

And for the record, the fiber is usually only allowed by that land line phone company. If YOU try to lay fiber you will get arrested. You can't do it. you can't get a permit. And even if you do, a court will invalidate it.

Re:Cellular is the business model (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259431)

that's only in some tiny hick towns

the problem is that even in NYC there aren't enough customers for two companies to operate in the same area once you get past the huge capital costs of installing your own cable under the ground or on poles and paying the city rental fees

Re: Cellular is the business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259585)

I dont believe this argument from american operators. I live in a middle class neighborhood in Mexico City and have access to internet service from 2 new operators of fiber, the national telephone operator and a cable company.

Re:Cellular is the business model (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 months ago | (#46259483)

make it so that they can compete and they can try any program they want

I don't want them to compete, I want them to be regulated. One carrier per region makes more sense.

I know this will have the usual free market advocates clutching their pearls and fainting, but here's the problem. It costs $X kagillion to cover a region with cable, and $Y kabillion per month to maintain it. Those figures do not change by any significant amount depending on market share. If Comcast is paying $1B to cover a region, and another $100M a year to maintain it, it'll pay that regardless of whether it keeps or loses 50% of its customers. And likewise a competitor will pay exactly the same.

So adding competition simply increases the amount each company will have to claw back from its customers. If there are three competitors where there's currently one operator, all it means is that the cost of Internet access will tripple. At best you might end up with better customer service. But I'm not sure that paying $210/month for internet access instead of $70 is going to feel better because on the odd occasion I have to call Comt&t the person's friendly and I don't have to wait 45 minutes being told that my call is important to them.

Fuck that. Regulate them. Regulate the shit out of them. We regulate (and tax, and so on) the wrong things in the US, and then declare regulation (and taxes, and so on) wrong and competition the solution to everything.

Competition isn't going to help here. At least, not in the way you're advocating. If you want competition, introduce it at layers unrelated to infrastructure redundancy.

It's not just the cost... (4, Insightful)

zenasprime (207132) | about 2 months ago | (#46259219)

It's the shitty content. I got rid of cable because I don't actually watch TV any more. Call me a Luddite but I actually read books more then ever. I guess they better start investing in firemen and flame-throwers.

"Cord cutting" (4, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | about 2 months ago | (#46259227)

I wish they would stop misusing the term "cord cutting" for not subscribing to television while still getting Internet via cable, as it is confusing and stupid. The term originally came about as people stopped paying for land-lines and used their cell phones exclusively instead, and there it made sense.

In this case, as the article points out, "In most American households, the cable cord is the fastest conduit for broadband service. This suggests the canny strategy by which those once-inescapable cable providers might combat the rise of cord cutters: The cable giants will simply become even-more-inescapable Internet giants."

Well duh, it's been that way for a long time. You aren't "cutting the cord" by saving a few bucks by not paying for television but still getting Internet over cable. Even 10 year ago, it was like a $10 difference to not get basic cable. Where cable is losing the big money is on all the premium bundles.

Re:"Cord cutting" (1, Flamebait)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 2 months ago | (#46259319)

I wish they would stop misusing the term "cord cutting" for not subscribing to television while still getting Internet via cable, as it is confusing and stupid.

Yeah. They're literally cutting their own balls off by doing that.

Premium bundles (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46259567)

Where cable is losing the big money is on all the premium bundles.

Which they combat by slowly moving commonly viewed 'basic' channels to the next level bundle.

Re:"Cord cutting" (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about 2 months ago | (#46259651)

Some of us care about that $10 a month. In fact, I didn't get basic cable bundled with my internet until it actually -dropped- the cost of my internet (net cost of basic cable was actually -negative-).

But what happened next? Comcast decided to switch basic cable from analog to digital to save bandwidth. (Ok, no problem so far - that's actually a good idea). But what did they give basic cable subscribers then? A tiny box which converted the digital signal to 4x3 Standard Definition NTSC television (the old Channel 3 connection). In other words, crap. I could hook up an antenna to my TV and pull broadcast TV in 1080p HD, but the cable company puts me back in the 90's. You bet your ass I cared about that $10 a month. If adding basic cable to my internet connection cost me even one cent I wouldn't have been happy.

The only thing they need to do... (5, Interesting)

jafiwam (310805) | about 2 months ago | (#46259229)

Is not be messing with the price all the time.

Somehow, mysteriously, the price changes slightly every month and it's always up.

Once the promotions are gone, it creeps up a bit every month. (The promotion ending for '1 year sign up price" is a big jump.)

Eventually, people start looking at the bill trying to figure out how to reduce it. That act, is what kills them. You don't want people thinking about the bill, you want them to just pay it.

I'll be dropping the TV / Movie portion of my cable in a month or two (summer means outside, and moving to a single abode again). But I wouldn't if it wasn't $45 a month more than it was when I moved in.

They should upgrade everyone's RG-60 coax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259231)

To something like QR-1125 [nqcables.com] . That will stop most of the cable cutters.

what price increases? (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259235)

i remember when cable internet first came out i the 90's it was like $100 for 1mbps
now it's like $50 for 20mbps on time warner

at this point broadband prices will increase some. the customer base is maxed out. very little new customers out there. and costs are increasing with salary raises, etc

Re:what price increases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259307)

In some countries it is roughly $25 for 100mbps...

Re: what price increases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259363)

Try $25 for 1Gb/s

Re:what price increases? (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 months ago | (#46259313)

and costs are increasing with salary raises

Citation please. If anything salaries have been broadly flat. I don't know maybe salary growth has exceeded averages among cable providers, possible. As you say those not as many new customers, and more customers who already have cable tv don't need cables run and being more internet savy than 10 years ago do self installs. They should if anything be able cut staff. Both on the installer side and on the back office support provisioning end.

Upstream and transport network bandwidth is getting cheaper. So that cost should be going down for them too. I don't see much evidence to support them doing any cable plant upgrades to offer more bandwidth to the home. Most of them have little or no competition so they are content to make 50Mbps down / 15 up their max offerings most places and not splitting the segments up and doing more fiber home runs to enable them to offer more. The lack of incentives to continue investment in enhanced cable plant should also if anything be lowering their costs.

Looking forward if they need more IP bandwidth they can just start scaling back the television offerings that apparently fewer and fewer customers want. Again I don't see their costs going up.

Frankly this merger if allowed looks more like an opportunity for gouging than anything else. Normally I am laissez-faire type when it comes to markets. I'd say let them merge; but this is a case where these companies only are able to operate in the first place because of government granted rights of way. Either the rights of way ought to be reconsidered and property owners allowed to charge them rent, or we should just start regulating them like public utilities.

Re:what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259329)

time warner is rewiring most of their buildings in NYC now. they just did mine a week ago and the word is the base internet tier will be 50/5 soon

and then health insurance costs per employees always go up, they rent stores for customer support, stocking up the cable boxes and modems. NYC I always see their installers. people are always moving and install TV when they move in

Re: what price increases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259387)

And you think 50/5 in 2014 is a good thing. Either you work for TW or you've been fully brainwashed by them to believe this good. Meanwhile the rest of the world is moving to gig FTTP.

Re: what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259409)

i'm at 15/1 now
50/5 would be nice for uploading photos to icloud or flickr

what's the point of gig-e? if i want a movie i'll buy a blu ray and my itunes and vudu rentals already look good.

Re: what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259455)

Why buy a blueray disk when you can buy the streaming version for cheaper, with the same quality, if we had the broadband the rest of the world has?

Re: what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259481)

i don't buy a lot of movies but the ones i want to buy i only buy on blu ray because the quality is better. especially the sound on my TV with no home theater

even at a few $$$ like Gravity i'll still rather have the blu ray/dvd/digital combo since i can always play it OFFLINE.

Re: what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259527)

You missed the point entirely.. Why buy the physical disk if you can get the same quality, and access it anywhere you want and not be tied to the physical media? If you have a 1G/s connection you would not need the physical disk, but streaming should work for you. So your argument is why get better speeds when I can get the disk is an backwards argument, because if you could get a better experience if you had better speeds.

Re: what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259563)

internet connection is not perfect
i like physical disks because the quality is better. blu ray is up to 50Mbps
my blu ray player will always work and there will always be blu ray compatible players out there for sale. at least the next 20 years

i kind of trust itunes and vudu but the content is DRM'd and i need the special equipment for that store to play the content on my TV
unlike blu ray which is open

Re: what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259583)

Again you are not paying attention, the quality of the physical disk is better because the speed is not there are the internet to handle the sustained 72MB/s speeds required for full bluray quality playback, the best most areas can get is 50MB. At 1GB the quality would be the exact same, and the connection being perfect would not matter, as it would be made up for before you need it.. Secondly you got worse DRM in the disk itself, you can only play it on a bluray player, at one location, in addition there are other vendor neutral things like Google Play and Amazon instant video. You seem to want to lock yourself into an inferior product and ensure that everyone else is locked in with you, I am sorry but I reject that.

Re: what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259595)

networking and CDN issues have no effect on my blu ray collection.
itunes is also good since you can download a local copy to a computer and stream locally
vudu and ultraviolet i only buy ultra cheap when there is a sale

Re: what price increases? (0)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259655)

So again you wanna keep everyone else down because you are ok, and cannot clearly think outside your box. There are other, worse things that can happen to your collection, they can be physically destroyed in a many different ways. Your blue ray player could die, your wife could take the collection. But in the end I think the last part punctuates it, you are cheap, and even though the alternative provides a better service at more than likely a better price you dont wanna chance it.

Re:what price increases? (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 months ago | (#46259337)

very little new customers out there.

The customers are all 3 inches tall, or what?

Whence comes this bizarre aversion which Americans seem to have developed to the words "few" and "fewer" recently?

Re:what price increases? (1)

cmorriss (471077) | about 2 months ago | (#46259345)

It's technology. You pointed out yourself how the price per mbs has dropped over the years and then suggest for some reason it should now go up. Technology naturally drops in price because of advances regardless of how many people are using it. Unless of course you have a monopoly.

Re:what price increases? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259357)

there are very little new customers so your revenue base will stay flat
meanwhile the costs like employees, support, equipment, bond payments for network upgrades, etc will increase

its like your electric bill, its always going up

Re:what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259479)

Comcast has 23m customers, the US has a population of 313m. There are few areas (not little) that are not covered by TWC, comcast, or charter, which combined have less than 40m subs, or less than 13% of the population. How does that mean there are few new customers when they dont have 87+% of the population?

Re: what price increases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259599)

Cox cable? Other cable companies?

Re: what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259631)

They have about 2.9m cable, 6.2m total subscribers, so we are still less than 15% of the population of the US. Cablevision about 3m and the rest are all about 4m, add them up and we are at about 52m subscribers, or about 16.6% of the population. With 83% not subscribing my point still stands, there are anything but a few customers to tap into.

Number of subs not equal to number of users (1)

Streetlight (1102081) | about 2 months ago | (#46259629)

I'm not sure exactly, but the average household in the US is something like four or five people. At five people per household, that's 200 million folks. Also, there are something like 20 million college students. Is any 30,000 student university with a subscription a single sub, i. e., one bill a single sub?

Re:what price increases? (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 2 months ago | (#46259637)

That population of 313m includes every man, woman, and child. Do you expect mom get her own subscription, dad get his, and one subscription for each child in the household? If you want to do that more effectively get the number of households in the country which as of 2010 was around 114,800,000. Now you're talking around 1 in every 3 households has a subscription to one of those three.

Re:what price increases? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259665)

And yes that still means there is 66.66% of the market that is still not taped by them, still a far cry from few.

Re:what price increases? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259355)

This!!

My internet price (from Comcast and acquired entities) has remained steady at $43 for probably 20 years now, while my download speeds have increased from 1.5Mbps to (today) 57Mbps over the same timeframe. Factoring in inflation and speed increases over that timeframe, my cost per throughput has steadily and dramatically dropped.

The article is FUD.

Re:what price increases? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 months ago | (#46259467)

This!!

My internet price (from Comcast and acquired entities) has remained steady at $43 for probably 20 years now, while my download speeds have increased from 1.5Mbps to (today) 57Mbps over the same timeframe. Factoring in inflation and speed increases over that timeframe, my cost per throughput has steadily and dramatically dropped.

The article is FUD.

I think the issue for cord cutters us data caps. If the cable company had a steady 250gb cap then you went from 450 hours of full speed downloads to 15 hours of full speed downloading. So even as bandwidth has improved, your ability to use it has not. Just like how the cellular companies tout their fantastic super fast downloads to make you think you are getting better service but if you actually use that high speed data, you can hit your monthly data cap within a few minutes of downloading.

Re:what price increases? (5, Interesting)

ImdatS (958642) | about 2 months ago | (#46259361)

Here in Germany, I pay for 100Mbps/20Mbps (Down-/Upstream) EUR 25 per month (at current exchange rate around 34 USD/month).

Well, at least the company selling the service offers the product as "100Mbps/20Mbps", but in fact when the technician came and connected it, we saw sync-speed of 100Mbps/31Mbps and his comment: "Yeah, we actually sell only what we can guarantee".

I have measured it many times, and it is really effectively 100Mbps/30 Mbps

While I was in the US from 2009 onward, I had the feeling that the US has the worst internet connection (to homes) of all the countries I spent time in (except emerging markets). And it was the most expensive I have seen so far.

Re:what price increases? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 months ago | (#46259385)

And in Lithuania I pay 23.17EUR/month for 300/300mbps advertised. I reality the speed drops to about 60mbps during peak time (but not every day), but the connection is very reliable and the ISP does not complain that I upload ~30TB/month.

Re:what price increases? (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 2 months ago | (#46259639)

Here in Germany, I pay for 100Mbps/20Mbps (Down-/Upstream) EUR 25 per month (at current exchange rate around 34 USD/month).

Well, at least the company selling the service offers the product as "100Mbps/20Mbps", but in fact when the technician came and connected it, we saw sync-speed of 100Mbps/31Mbps and his comment: "Yeah, we actually sell only what we can guarantee".

I have measured it many times, and it is really effectively 100Mbps/30 Mbps

While I was in the US from 2009 onward, I had the feeling that the US has the worst internet connection (to homes) of all the countries I spent time in (except emerging markets). And it was the most expensive I have seen so far.

And Germany has about 82 million people across an area 15% smaller than the size of California. California has about half the population (38 million people). That's just one state. The US is huge by comparison with a large part that has tiny population densities. I'm just pointing out that providers in other countries with much higher population density can lower their prices because it costs less per customer for infrastructure costs.

Don't get me wrong, the US prices are way too high. However, the US also has a much larger barrier of entry.

The only way, in my opinion, that broadband internet access prices will drop in the US is when the infrastructure piece is taken over by the government and then leases bandwidth to private companies. Its the only way that we will ever get competition parity for established players and new start-ups.

Re:what price increases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259365)

in the 93 i had acces to 10/1 for 40$, I cannot find a simillar deal were I live today

Re:what price increases? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 months ago | (#46259383)

True. On the other hand, when I subscribed to Internet service in the 1990's it cost about $22 (in 2014 dollars) for basic service. Now it costs $30 for basic service. In the 1990's you could 70 times the bandwidth when you paid 7 times the price. Now you will get 10 times the bandwidth when you pay 5 times the price. It's not the best comparison, I realize, but it should be enough to demonstrate that we are paying more for Internet service.

Re:what price increases? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#46259433)

My broadband price has been increasing about 5% per year. Along with that I've also been getting regular speed increases. Right now it's 100/30 Mbps up/down.

 

Try again (4, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#46259237)

"and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers."

Nobody in America currently has a choice between Comcast and Time Warner. I hope the DOJ rejects the merger because the resulting company is too big. But the amount of competition in the cable internet market would not change at all.

Re:Try again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#46259351)

Nobody in America currently has a choice between Comcast and Time Warner. I hope the DOJ rejects the merger because the resulting company is too big. But the amount of competition in the cable internet market would not change at all.

Who cares how big they are if it doesn't change the amount of competition?

Re:Try again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259397)

You are right, and it worked out well for the US financial meltdown in '08.

Re:Try again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#46259463)

You are right, and it worked out well for the US financial meltdown in '08.

You know, we bailed out the banks in the nineties, too. Maybe the problem is the bailouts. If they didn't exist, people wouldn't perceive bigger banks as safer, and there would be more competition in banking.

Re:Try again (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259493)

Because it affects the future possibilities of competition. IF there is only one provider in the US then there is no need to allow competition, nice way to prevent it before it gets started.

Re:Try again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#46259521)

Because it affects the future possibilities of competition.

There are little to no future possibilities of direct competition. And the various cable players can always band together to fight indirect competition (such as municipal fiber) which is in fact what has been happening. Sorry, I don't see the difference.

It's true that in a very few markets there's competition between cable companies. Those markets are very few, however, and they already tend to feature indirect competition.

Re:Try again (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259557)

So because you feel there will probably never be direct competition screw it and ensure there will never be direct competition? Seems a little cart before the horse...

Re:Try again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#46259579)

So because you feel there will probably never be direct competition screw it and ensure there will never be direct competition? Seems a little cart before the horse...

Right now we're talking about cable companies, who can't reasonable share wires. Therefore every cable provider has to build out their own distribution network. In today's economic climate this is essentially unthinkable. When you add that to the long-term contracts granted to cable providers giving them monopoly over the right of way, in many markets there cannot be direct competition. The cable companies have to be destroyed before we can have competition anyway. Might as well consolidate them and then destroy them all at once.

Re:Try again (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259643)

Or, and gosh, I am not sure where I have heard this before, you separate the infrastructure and allow more than one company to sure the cables, similar to the cable companies.. You could also stop the cable giants from blocking things like this, or community fibre, as to prevent their competition and self fulfill your prophecy.

Re:Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259353)

Uh what? What about Verizon, RCN, Dish, etc?

Re:Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259451)

Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't aware those were cable companies.

Re:Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259475)

satellite is is no way comparable to cable (it storms out, you lose tv, fuck that). as for verizon, sure, some places have them for ISP competition, but where i live, the only other choice is a paltry 3mbps from whatever qwest changed its name to.

Re: Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259571)

I had satellite TV for a few years, and generally the worst signal loss I got was a sub-second glitch, I think because of the stronger lightning strikes in the area. Excess snow on the dish caused a problem once.

That said, satellite can't provide decent internet service compared to terrestrial services.

Re:Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259549)

Uh what? What about Verizon, RCN, Dish, etc?

The comment was "Nobody in America currently has a choice between Comcast and Time Warner. " Unless "Verizon, RCN, Dish, etc" are subsidiaries of Comcast or Time Warner, that question doesn't address the comment.

it's to fight the content owners (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259247)

the reason cable bills go up and no one has a choice of channels is because Disney, Discovery, Viacom and everyone else constantly raise prices and only offer their channels in one big bundle. and always add more channels.

when a channel is blacked out on their TV people always blame comcast or direct TV. they should be blaming the channel owner for wanting too much money and not giving any choice of channels.

comcast might not be a saint, but a bigger comcast will mean that any time a channel owner wants a price increase they risk losing more than half their revenue during the blackout. in the past they would pick a small carrier for the price raise since the effect on revenues was pennies

Re:it's to fight the content owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259419)

Good point, but you're only looking at part of it. Controlling more of the market share for Internet access also means that they've got more leverage against companies like Netflix, i.e. pay us to not throttle streaming from your website or half of your users will end up having a bad experience (and thus may quit using Netflix).

Re:it's to fight the content owners (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259449)

the government will probably make them put a netflix CDN, but even then netflix isn't a saint either
they have doubled their prices in the past
they constantly lose content
they changed their API to make themselves look good and not pass on the data when content is being removed

if comcast can get the content owners to blink and sell their channels in bundles they can work with netflix since netflix takes care of the crap channels with mostly old syndicated shows

No thank you Comcast (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 2 months ago | (#46259265)

Cut my cord last year. At the rates they charge and the intermittent and barely-broadband service they provide, I can live without their content.

It wouldn't surprise me... (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 months ago | (#46259287)

It wouldn't surprise me if these parasites quietly call cord-cutters "deadbeats", just as credit-card companies call customers who pay their bills every month "deadbeats". It'd jive with their big-business culture of greed and entitlement.

What happened to US antitrust law, anyway?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259299)

As somebody who is planning to cut their Cable TV connection soon I would just like to say*:

- The amount of advertising has become annoying.
- The repetitiveness of the advertising is frustrating... [Anybody need Life Insurance? Anybody?]
- The content I want to watch just doesn't seem to be there, or has diminished in quality - Personal / Biased opinion, I got Cable TV for the Sci-Fi and Documentary channels.
- The price always seems to be going up, if only by a few dollars at a time.
- I haven't had a pay rise in a while and generally the cost of living seems to be increasing, I have less money in my 'entertainment' budget.

I'm mostly finding myself using the internet for gaming (Battlefield and GTA), Youtube, and procrastination (/.). Fix some of the points above before you punish me for how I use the internet.

Re:Well... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#46259347)

When you get Hulu to replace it, you will notice it has the same amount of commercials. So I just torrent all my TV shows. better quality, no "buffering" and no commercials. I would pay Hulu 2X their subscription rate if they removed the commercials for me. But they have no plans on going commercial free for any reason.

Re:Well... (1)

karnal (22275) | about 2 months ago | (#46259465)

It's a balancing act that I'm sure they would rather rectify for the consumer - but they cannot. The content providers are always going to want to have some form of tied in advertising; Hulu can guarantee that the advertisements are seen - as opposed to DVRs which can skip (or fast forward) through the adverts.

I haven't paid for Hulu yet (bing rewards points provide this to me for free for now) and I've enjoyed running through shows I wouldn't otherwise watch. As much as I would love to see no commercials, unless there's some other way to plug in advertising into the actual show - I don't feel it's going to ever happen.

Re:Well... (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46259377)

as a TV customer, cable cutter and back to TV there are two reasons to pay for TV today. Sports and quality kids' cartoons. Disney jr and Nick and some of the other cartoon networks.

otherwise as you said, the advertising ruins it. tried watching a movie and its horrible with all the commercials. Netflix is good for documentaries but they have gotten worse lately. got rid of some good episodes and series

I don't agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259309)

The idea that this is a strategy to remove competition would be valid IF there was ever more than one choice for a cable company. Each cable company already has a monopoly on the markets they control. All they gain by acquiring a "competitor" is a larger sphere of influence.

Education vs exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259311)

Turner gained monopolies by promising a life long education system via cable TV and he created channels to prove it. Now that those channels aren't educational, all the exclusive access contracts along those lines are now null and void based on the original terms. Ask you city why they are violating the contract terms and not allowing other carriers.

Good luck with that Comcast (4, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | about 2 months ago | (#46259325)

'The steady price increases in broadband rates cast a pall over any cord cutter's dreams. It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"

The only way I've been willing to deal with a price increase is when they offer me a stupid amount of extra bandwidth. Oh you want to give me 25/10 service for $5 more? Sure. Oh you want to give me 25/25 service for $1 more a month. Heck yeh! You are offering 100/65 for $35 more a month......FUCK YEH!!!!

Comcast's idea: we are raising your rates by $5 this year and we are throttling your connect to 7/1. Me: Go fuck yourself and cancel my account. Comcast: wait?! what?!

Just the past amount of bad blood I've had with cable companies would keep me from doing business with one again. When I bought my house, my real-estate lady thought I was nuts, I checked out all the houses she was going to show me to see if they had cable or FIOS for service (the area around Tampa is broken up into little monopoly zones with either one or the other) and refused to go look at houses that only had access to cable.

As far as having to "pay" things are moving so fast that in 10 years most of the new shows are going to come from any of the old broadcasters. Comcast doesn't represent so much as a horse buggy whip factory, but a store that specialized in selling and delivery horse buggy whips.

Nationalization (3, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 months ago | (#46259327)

If the government is going to allow for basically a single regulated entity to control the majority of cable and internet service in the US, maybe they should just nationalize it and cut out the middle man. After all, what is the difference between a single provider that the government says what it can and cannot do and the government just doing it? Didn't the US learn enough with the "too big to fail" model? This merger has disaster written all over it. If anything, instead of consolidations, they should be breaking up these megacorporations to have more competition, not less.

Re:Nationalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259415)

They could call it Internet.gov

So brazen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259375)

I love that they use their current collusion as an argument for why the merger should be allowed. ''We're not in competition now [because we've divided the market between us], so competition won't be affected.''

Can't wait to see which corrupt asshole [arstechnica.com] gets a cushy new industry job this time. Oh wait, they fixed that by flipping it around, haven't they?

Enforced separation required... (2)

mr_jrt (676485) | about 2 months ago | (#46259405)

What you guys need is something akin to what happened with BT here in the UK - Arms-length separation of the infrastructure and the service. Sure, you may only be able to have one cable provider in the city, but if they have to sell non-discriminatory access to other ISPs at the same rates as their own consumer division, then you get the healthy kind of competition. There's a thriving ISP market in the UK, only downside is the big boys keep hoovering up the smaller ones that do too well, meaning if you want to stay away from the big boys you have to keep finding and migrating to a new small one every few years. :(

BT has these rules because of its ex-monopoly status, but personally I think it'd make perfect sense to apply the same rules universally. BT Retail should be able to provide service over Virgin Media's cable infrastructure in an area if that's the most cost effective way of doing it - don't limit my service options to the infrastructure provider's.

That would be nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259445)

Where I live, my DSL is topped out at 1.5Mbps/.5Mbps (Metro Atlanta, GA) with AT&T at $40/mo. IF I want faster Internet, I will have to buy AT&T UVerse: TV, Internet, landline & phone or a business package.

Competition for regular DSL? None. My choices are just cable TV: Comcast.

Fortunately, my DSL is adequate for NetFlix but I can't do much other than stream movies.

Re:Enforced separation required... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46259511)

we only have one provider in a city, so it does not really matter. But in reality if you have a separation why would you be prevented from having more than one operator?

Their value is in the last mile. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#46259411)

It is cost effective and quite competitive to bring broadband to the street corner pillar boxes or the neighbourhoods for telephone companies. It is the "last mile", often fraction of a mile, that connects individual homes and wiring inside the homes that is prohibitively expensive for the new entrant. That is the real barrier to entry. But as WiFi spec improves, the last mile could be done over the air. Already this technique of mostly wire, but end nodes connected over the air is proving to be very cost effective in most third world rural areas. I have seen regular home phones connecting to the local cell tower in Bangalore some 10 or 15 years ago.

Verizon is spending tons of money upgrading last mile to optic fiber. AT&T is already pitching cell tower to home connections. Companies who would be adversely affected if cable companies get too powerful in controlling the distribution channels will fund competitors.

But, in the end, instead of a monopoly we might end up with a duopoly or at the most three choices for home to internet connections. Still I hope this merger does not go through. Cable monopolies could do plenty of damage before viable competition emerges.

The elephants in the room. (3, Interesting)

plebeian (910665) | about 2 months ago | (#46259435)

As a so called cord cutter they way I see it is the cable companies are leveraging their cable TV monopolies to dominate the ISP/Telecom markets. The real anti-trust push should not be to stop the merger of comcast and time warner but to require separation of services in an area where a company has a monopoly. That is to say make them spin off their core networking and content distribution services into a separate company/corporation.

Or you could be just like Cox Communications (2)

ProfBooty (172603) | about 2 months ago | (#46259447)

and have 2 rate increases on internet services in the same year with no additional speed increase.

Future Cost (4, Insightful)

srichard25 (221590) | about 2 months ago | (#46259515)

Future cost of cable will be this:
$150 per month for cable TV + internet
$140 per month for internet only

Enjoy your options.

I've done my part (4, Informative)

Sir Holo (531007) | about 2 months ago | (#46259531)

As president of my HOA, I allowed Verizon to install FIOS capability to every unit in my complex, for free.

Now, we are not as a community beholden to Time-Warner, but can switch to Verizon as a provider of all things digital (internet, TV, and phone).

Both are desperate to sell you "packages" of services, rather than just internet. Screw them. I call once a year and threaten to ditch them for their competitor. The result is a rate reduced by about 40%.

I do not own a television, nor do I use a land-line phone. I just want internet. Well, that sort of logic falls short with their telephone salespeople. The only threat that works is, "I will totally cancel service from you and will go to your competitor."

"don't expect to save money forever" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46259541)

"As we are going to suck you dry dear customer, and once we control all mainstream content creation and distribution, we will decide how much we screw you."

LTE and 5G (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about 2 months ago | (#46259555)

The problem is the cable is not going to be the only fast route into your home forever. Some people with good coverage are already using a home-based LTE router as their only internet connection. As this becomes more widespread and 5G starts rolling out, the cable companies will have another contender to deal with besides FTTH offerings. The nice thing about wireless as well is typicallty a region is served by more wireless providers than cable companies, so more competition will help keep prices low.

Re:LTE and 5G (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46259663)

Not really. What will happen is cell data will get to be as expensive ( its already more for most people as the true unlimited plans are long gone )..

Besides, if it ever did become a threat, Comcast would just toss in 'tiered internet' to squeeze them, or just start buying out the smaller companies ( like sprint and t-mobile )

Not just price (1)

Travis Ravert (3038615) | about 2 months ago | (#46259575)

I didn't stop getting cable because of the price, it was mainly due to being sick of commercials and the fact that the little programming I enjoy is all online now. Money just wasn't ever a factor for me when doing this is my point.

Comcast can't deliver what I want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46259589)

No matter what Comcast says, they won't be able to provide the content that their users want. The people now know of the great vast world. The tens of thousands of TV channels and the many new things that would have otherwise not have been available without the power of the internet. Sure, you can say "I could have lived happy without 2girls1cup" and so could I, but things like Anime don't really play on cable TV and when they do they are usually dubbed (horrible!) or they cut out the good stuff. Anime isn't the only thing that they lack of but my point is, cable TV is mostly fluff and reality shows. I don't care for either. If I could subscribe to a "discovery channel" package with history channel I would be happy. But I'll be damned if I have to pay an extra $140 a month just for the 3 channels that do matter to me. Where cable companies are going wrong is creating package tiers, but I guess it's the only way for them to survive. Out of the US, cable costs about $3/mo. for like 200 chanels and HBO/Cinmax. I'd rather not spend an extra $20 on top of my premium subscription just for HBO.

Netflix, et al (1)

Globe199 (442245) | about 2 months ago | (#46259645)

"But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever."

Let me stop you right there. If you live in certain areas of the country and pay for Netflix, it's likely you aren't watching ANY TV over the internet with the recent CDN/peering issues going on.

You Won't Save any Money by Adding Cable (1)

sudon't (580652) | about 2 months ago | (#46259647)

"It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"

You certainly won't save any money by adding cable.

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