The FCC should block this merger. If the country’s largest cable company buys the second-largest, the results for consumers would be disastrous. TV viewers and Internet users depend on choice, competition, and diversity. This merger would threaten all of that, giving Comcast the power to impose its will and extract rents at vital chokepoints. Comcast’s business interests would determine what Internet services, programming, and devices people can access and use nationwide. The competitive state of the broadband and cable markets even without this merger is hardly rosy. But the state of competition after it would be dire.
Comcast today has a commanding lead in the marketplace. This merger would increase that lead yet further—giving it a 50% share of the truly high-speed broadband distribution market. This merger would give make-or-break power over much of the video programming and Internet content marketplace. Its decisions would reverberate throughout the industry, reaching far beyond its own customers. As the primary distributor of video programming—and a large creator of video programming itself—it would be able to control the terms under which content is distributed nationwide. To prevent these manifold harms, the FCC must stop this transaction.
Petitioners will demonstrate how this merger would give Comcast unprecedented gatekeeper power in the nationwide market for broadband distribution. Petitioners will also show how Comcast’s size gives it the power to shape the pay TV, video device, and online video markets. Because Comcast has failed to demonstrate that, despite these competitive harms, its merger would nevertheless benefit the public interest, the FCC must block it.