A flurry of comments have been filed recently with regulators about the proposed $45.2B merger of TW Cable and Comcast, meeting the FCC’s Monday deadline. Unsurprisingly, nobody likes it very much outside of the two companies.
The latest came from DISH, which has chimed in calling it ‘unprecedented consolidation’ that would cause ‘substantial harms’ to other residential video providers. Of course, it’s rather hard to recall any mergers of this sort that DISH hasn’t opposed lately. The satellite TV company has had its own ambitions to get bigger thwarted by deeper pockets several times now, and naturally isn’t happy with the prospect of its competition getting more competitive.
The FCC has asked Comcast for more information, demanding more data on all sorts of business practices. Lord knows they wouldn’t have gotten it by navigating the company’s voicemail and customer support systems. Those have gotten some bad press lately, and as one who has had more than one of those heavily-scripted, lightly empowered reps on the phone in recent weeks, I think you can expect more of it.
That being said, it still isn’t clear that there are actually regulatory grounds for stopping the combination. I suspect the FCC will do its best to draw a little token blood in the form of some visible but minor concessions, then give in once the elections are over and the holiday season distracts some of the attention.
For its part, Comcast is now expecting to complete the deal by early next year. That’s a few months longer than initially forecast, but it is unsurprising given the range of opposing voices and the FCC’s close scrutiny.
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