Friday morning Comcast executives approached the FCC with questions on what hurdles it would face if they pursued a merger with Time Warner Cable. The first thing to understand is cable companies share the lowest customer service ratings of any industry. Why? Probably because of the poor customer service, bandwidth caps, and outright denial that customers want fast internet speeds.
The thought of two of the least customer centric companies in America merging into one super Goliath of crappy service should be a scary thing to many. The two companies have a near duopoly on the cable market in our country yet have been known to have secret, sneaky ways of trying to keep a monopoly; TWC gets some areas, and Comcast gets others. “We won’t step on your toes if you don’t step on ours.”
What’s wrong with that? Less competition means higher costs, more absurd fees, and less incentive to progress. That all sounds like things we want, right? Wrong. The FCC has it’s work cut out for them over the holiday weekend. This is a good opportunity for the new chairman Tom Wheeler to prove pundits wrong and put the hammer down for the American people. Tom Wheeler used to work as a lobbyist for the cable industry so it’s fair to be a little concerned.
In 2011, T-Mobile and AT&T tried a merger and the FCC blocked them. That’s spurred fierce competition in the wireless spectrum as T-Mobile has revamped it’s Uncarrier initiative to provide more flexible and less expensive plans, as well as other features such as free internet for tablet users. This is a perfect example of why competition is a benefit to the rest of us.
With new gaming consoles like the Xbox One, the Playstation 4, tablets in 34% of households, and smartphone adoption rate in the US above 90% so many devices are now connected and rely on a consistent. Bandwidth caps will just mean more cost for less internet access.