Category Archives: Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable Mergers and Net Neutrality Expectations for Charter

Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable logos combined.

A little over two months ago a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) was called off. Almost no time passed before Charter Communications entered into an agreement to purchase TWC for roughly $57 billion. As the calendar turns to July, there remains a certain level of uncertainty surrounding the details of this proposed purchase, as well as how the FCC will respond to the bid.

 

Early after its announcement in 2014, the bid by Comcast to purchase TWC was considered a long shot. Claims from within the broadband community, consumer advocate groups, and the public all made it clear that they were concerned with the creation of what would have been the largest TV operator in the United States. Even the Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, expressed his opposition to the merger. Wheeler’s main point of contention, however, was that if the purchase were allowed to proceed, it would create an unfair competitive advantage for Comcast in the broadband market. In particular, the company would have enjoyed a controlling share of almost 60% among broadband providers. Ultimately it was this near monopoly, coupled with the lack of any penalty fee for ending the agreement, which caused Comcast to back out of the deal.

 

Drawing lessons from the failed deal between Comcast and TWC, Charter has begun to promote how its proposed purchase of TWC will not alter the television or broadband playing field on the national stage. The CEO of Charter, Tom Rutledge, has stressed that even if his company is successful in acquiring TWC and Bright House, the newly expanded company will still be only the second largest provider of cable and high speed internet services behind Comcast. At most, Charter would supply about 20% of all TV customers and 29% of all broadband customers. Another issue that Charter does not need to address is that unlike Comcast, which has a financial interest in Hulu, there is no concern that Charter may regulate speeds for video streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

 

Charter is also drawing on the FCC ruling which made broadband a Title II utility as a reason for why its proposed merger should be approved. Rutledge made clear that the footprint of the expanded company would not overlap geographically and that there would remain competition for broadband services offering 25 Mbps in all of its coverage areas. Additionally, he stated that since the majority of the company’s investment is in broadband, not television, it would encourage the expansion of Over the Top (OTT) streaming video services and not impose any sort of data cap on customers. Indeed, subscribers with the new Charter, if the merger is approved, could see significant savings on their broadband subscriptions as their speeds are tripled while their monthly bill is lowered.

 

While the merger works its way through regulatory checks, industry analysts appear confident that the deal will occur. The latest suggestions are that there is a 75% chance that the deal is approved. The FCC has announced that they hope to have this process decided, in favor or opposition of the merger, by the end of 2015.

 

Lexington Kentucky refuses Comcast merger, on grounds of awful service

There’s nothing better than seeing city leaders agree unanimously that Time Warner Cable is just awful. That’s what happened at Lexington, Kentucky, where the leadership refused the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger on grounds that the service is awful.

“We have worked aggressively and vigorously to negotiate these terms with Time Warner,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “They have just not been reasonable. We are looking for better customer service and they are not willing to offer it. That’s why the council took the action that it did today.” Until changes are made that will help Lexington cable customers, Gray said, “They will not approve” the transfer of ownership.

Considering Time Warner Cable and Comcast regularly fight for the bottom of customer satisfaction reports, it is no surprise the city leaders do not want this merger to happen.

Comcast did announce plans to revamp their customer service, adding a new VP of Customer Satisfaction, but we doubt this will make huge changes in the way Comcast deals with customers.

Unfortunately for almost everyone in the United States who doesn’t live in a competitive area, Comcast and Time Warner Cable like to keep out of each others way and purposefully ramp up prices in non-competitive markets.

Now that they want to merge, it is either spend hundreds of thousands on lobbying or improve customer service. Hopefully, with the new incentive from President Barack Obama on net neutrality and defending customer rights, Chairman of the FCC Tom Wheeler will think twice about the merger.

 

Source

Time Warner Cable gets fined $1.1 million from FCC

The Time Warner Cable Internet outage lasted a good few hours this week and it looks like the FCC aren’t happy. In response to the Internet service provider not reporting network outages properly, they have fined the company $1.1 million.

The fine is not a huge detriment to Time Warner Cable, who are currently in the middle of a Comcast merger, but does show the FCC are deeply investigating the Internet issues, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Continue reading Time Warner Cable gets fined $1.1 million from FCC