WWL>Topics>>2-20 12:10pm Garland, cable merger

2-20 12:10pm Garland, cable merger

Feb 20, 2014|

The two largest cable companies in the world (Comcast and Time Warner) are merging. The new company will control cable, much of the internet and entertainment services. Some call it a monopoly that will increase the costs we pay for home technology. Others say it’s simply a bigger company with more to choose from. Does it excite or worry you? Garland was joined by Jodi Griffin, Attorney for Public Knowledge.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Relative to abuse say you don't -- billion and -- it doesn't seem that big guy after all -- we haven't quite. Reached that tipping point where it's no longer. Could trillion dollars in appearance. We do -- -- first hour of the doing trying. FaceBook bought one then that application company to New York this week for nineteen billion dollars. Well here of what the good news reports drew in the past week or so have been telling us. In agreeing to pay 45. Billion. For the Time Warner Cable -- -- greed not only and the norm cable television provider. But the largest broadband Internet provider in the United States in the company that controls. About half full ball what they called. Triple please which bundled cable TV and brought to -- Internet based telephone company. Do you'll will impact satellite television television programmers like European talks. Online video providers like nick blitzer and you too. And the massive net board said the very hard of the Internet. Teachers didn't introducing out there -- called -- group and attorney for public knowledge to the to get a little public knowledge -- welcomed the sure appreciate -- And so what do you think gives us an idea about ideas and then and I remember reading baba. The government killed that deal between AT TAT and T and T-Mobile. Back in two to eleven -- this can survive and so is -- to -- about it. Well we think it's a bad idea public knowledge my organization were opposed to the merger. Not only because it. Only going to lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers but because of the fact that the merger would have on the rest of the media marketplace that you mentioned. It contests to go over Time Warner Cable. It would sound roughly a third of the national cable market which gives it even more leverage over content creators Internet companies and networks that need inter connect with Comcast the standard -- So basically the price increases for -- travel and Britain's business partners and eventually that. He goes down to the consumer -- -- -- -- bill for everything. So we expect that the federal communications commission and the antitrust agencies here in Washington. Are going to step in to protect protect consumers and block the deal. Did give me an idea. And I knew you can too -- individually for everybody. -- didn't that -- so I get cable TV. And Amazon in movie news how would this affect me. Well content where is that. For those companies to reach you that you know they have to go over Comcast infrastructure at some point. So that could mean either that there engine direct peering relationship with Comcast or that they do it through some other transit provider. But in some ways they have to go over Comcast's -- in order to reach you if you're asking for their contents. Look like imagine the draining drainage pipe. There are all in there and richer ones I'm using in that pipe have to have Comcast or. Time Warner to to find a path to mile. Right exactly though it we're talking about let's say the cable video market. They have to strike deals with -- -- carried out for each individual cable channel. Which is especially on the difficult because Comcast owns its own programming and so as an incentive. -- can savor that program means that at the independent channel. And if you're talking about an online video provider. Netflix but. You know there are many other options. And potential option for new entrants into the online video market -- we're not just concerned about Netflix but. You know they need to go to contest as well. In terms of connecting their network with Comcast. I AMP networks so that they can go over the Internet. And those deals are secretly don't quite know what's going on in there there have sometimes been allegations that come -- other eyes peas. Are adequately upgrading their infrastructures so that it sponsors and then the current customer thinks NAND my Netflix isn't working so well. Maybe I'll find another source for my video entertainment not just by cable package instead from Comcast. Just in Congo along -- watchers saying. Now look to -- players learn. 2013. The American customer's satisfaction. In the act. We're surveys about 7000 customers and end. Right Comcast's laughs. And Time Warner's second avalanche among Internet service providers record of being ridden this. Horrendously bad reputation. Both committed to immensely in ceremonies. Most recent customer service hold Sherry and expensive bill in those weak dollar and feeling like you're trapped with the company. And so -- is no really viable mark -- at all if they can't get. The service. And the company's. Aren't feeling too good to upgrade what is already ruined his service that long seemed like could be enough for the FCC to -- -- Yeah hole and if you look at the line is that the case that these guys competing cable companies look at some of the worst customer satisfaction ratings that leaders came. And I think a big part of it is that the markets are ready so uncompetitive. So what reason -- they have to keep customers happy because he can't really going you're out for a lot of people. And given that the market is already those terrible cup competition. That's an even stronger argument to make sure that we're protecting consumers land. Come Comcast and Time Warner comes to -- antitrust authorities and say we want to make this market even more concentrated and we went ahead even more. Leverage over the content creators that are going to be negotiating let. Can't get that actually pointed does that act as a benefit for the -- they say if we can negotiate better grades for current and then. You know that will be lower prices. But it and you mentioned there's there's no reason for them to pass this sign -- at any cost savings on to consumers because. Frankly didn't do what -- deal like that much and that there's no cup competitions so they don't have to worry about customers going anywhere else. -- monopolies don't have to worry. -- one of the articles were you recorded in the very next paragraph. They pulled Somalia was that saying. Regulatory policies and -- to ports is already exists to keep the combined companies in check. And they still have he and sentenced to improve infrastructure and drive down prices do you see that. They've they've set it in the sentence but they didn't explain. Where and how that would. I would have to that -- dream. You first that latter part you're talking about they -- ahead and senate and the market. You know you and I talked about that the few minutes ago but. -- It is very little competition in this market when we compare it to other more competitive markets and there's really no reason for -- capacity cost savings on the consumer. Because consumers. All too often don't have any choice and if they do it really just one other choice than it might be. DSL option from the telephone company that's really not as fast as cable can be. Until it's not very comparable. And in terms of the current regulatory protections that are column in place. I I really don't think that's going to be enough to counter. Cable company that. Controlled by that that will control by some reports about thirty million homes. After the merger. You know for example. When Comcast via the broadcasters movie studio and BCQ a few years ago. They agreed here elected condition. That would supposedly protect the consumers even though they emerge or that group. And it. We've seen that -- casket kind of found every appalled that they can use and that conditions and when it has gotten called out it would it will stall in the regulatory agencies. And in hopes that it -- actually have to abide by the conditions before they expire. And so we found that those well you know -- only as good as they aren't forged it and if we're not holding contests to its word -- those things then it's it's -- -- nothing and you basically have a merger that effectively went through without any. World doesn't America and have some of the slowest Internet. But cable pipelines of -- compared to many other countries. We're and I don't think we're quite at the lowest but it. Considering that -- the country -- developed this technology. It's really shameful how little we are on the Internet at broadband speeds. And. Or would that suggest the FCC doesn't protect us in the first place so I mean. As the FCC involved in anything to bring this up on the same standards are seen as Europe. I think the FCC is definitely paying attention to test the bomb. You know they hit their lobbied heavily by cable companies through the like to say that -- satellite is fine and and wireless like you get over your cellphone. In the cup competitor but. Really think that people who actually using technologies everyday now that they're not comparable for satellite not everyone can get it. There's a lot of latency it can't handle things like video as well -- cable can. And I think at the FCC has. You know understood those arguments and knows that. You know -- at least at this point that IA wireless capabilities they're just not the same. As wireline broadband maybe someday they will be and that will be great but we're not there yet in the mean time that means that we need to. Look really closely at competition. Com in the pipes in the wireline network. -- just took four -- come down on your side of the argument books and we called his looping thing. Let's quote Randolph may president of breached the foundation says think tank itself. Specializes communication issues and what it says group. I think that things will remain competitive. Because of telephone companies and satellite TV providers. And wireless companies as well is all the cable companies -- your thoughts. You know so Randolph he keeps quoting what they just said the others I'm providers that can provide some type of it and accept insane that that. Result -- -- robust competition and it's just not true and you know those those technologies just aren't there yet. That you can't do it much on man that you can deal on a cable infrastructure. And that is especially important importantly we're thinking about the future -- our media marketplace and our communications networks. Because we're only going to meet the -- more and more debt that kids to come out but to come in and make the most of new uses that are enabled by the networks things site. Working remotely -- telemedicine. Technologies that are often very high bandwidth so far because they need. Really on the high resolution videos and photos and things like that. I'll. Work we're talking about online education and that's often something that you there's a lot of bandwidth because -- -- of a lot of video. These are things that just are possible given. The current status of our mobile network and our satellite networks and though. We really need to look to what's happening in the wireline networks can make sure that we've got an infrastructure that can sustain. The forward thinking technologies and new uses -- our network. Major. And news so web sites that are occurring sources -- FCC is seeking a new -- out on the net neutrality rules and confused. Follows up with the if you street are there the courts for a ruling against them on there -- -- -- -- the gonna come up with new ones. Two questions for the audience and me exactly blog is net neutrality. And will have a big effect on this column. OK though net neutrality the idea that your Internet service provider doesn't get to control what you do on the Internet. And it's it's incredibly important in terms of making sure that the Internet is an open platform and that we can have communicated uses that come up. Using the Internet without having to worry about getting the permission of the gate keepers. And what the FCC is done -- that they're looking at new. A new sort of authority. To implement open and apple because. That the source of authority had previously pointed to what is knocked down by the court. Although the -- actually and that decision did today. Other than a couple specific things. This part of the lot at the FCC is looking at actually does give them very broad authority. The question is whether that broad authority. Allows them to do exactly what they're trying to do when it comes to net neutrality like nondiscrimination rules and telling highest p.s that they can't block content. Based on where it came from what kind of content as -- 11 final question on this morning I woke up and I heard about a company had never. Called watts app and it's and out. And FaceBook just bought it or nineteen billion dollars. Couple of weeks ago we do it and number of stores on the top and knew little intend with a company you think -- Oreo. Or twelve dollars a month you can pull virtually any signaled it's out there. On this tie the intent on the unit looks like about a quarter -- bearing. And they did put in your house you go to a then we have both Germany and friends talking about creating. You know out of Europe of the Roland. How does somebody like. Comcast who approved form that says in this climate of change is too good either spend 45 billion. -- -- and it was he could deal because. You know it would give them more leverage over. Things like new -- certain news services that need to use their network in order to users and that's how they get their value. But the fact that it might be a good deal for Comcast doesn't mean it's a good deal for the public and that's really -- you know our government needs to look at what they're considering whether to block the. But like dude that tiny little antennas. Tom Warner and and Comcast wouldn't have a need. Power over that right. All of that so it itself does use Internet protocols. Actually away areas is something that I think has been kind of interesting that the cable companies because currently. They pay a lot of money for bomb. Broadcast to return that the broadcast stations where it area. By operating as basically an intent -- rental service on does not need to -- those -- But I think that news disruptive competitors in the market that are finding ways Q. Lower prices and actually evidence that could pass those lower prices on consumers that's the good thing and however that shakes out. You know I think that I want at the new entrance. Coming into the market and I don't want can't get to be able to today. You're competing with you're -- how much money so we're going to just check Elop. -- I think guys understand this complicated -- little bit better dude to you give an -- time appreciated durable great Tuesday. Thanking you.