Four Infographics Reveal Why the Comcast Merger Is Bad for You
When the nation’s two biggest cable and Internet companies decide to get hitched, it can take a while to crunch the numbers on what that will mean for people.
But new Free Press research shows that the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger would create a media behemoth with unmatched power to raise prices, squash competition and reshape the future of the Internet.
If the merger is approved, all kinds of bad stuff will happen. (Click the thumbnails to get the full scoop.)
First off, Comcast will be the largest pay-TV provider in 104 markets encompassing 65 percent of the U.S. population. (See this map.)
Wait, it gets worse: Comcast’s service area will cover almost two-thirds of the U.S., and it will be the only broadband provider that can deliver Internet and pay-TV services to nearly four out of every 10 U.S. homes. (See the company’s reach.)
And to top it all off Comcast will control half of the truly high-speed U.S. Internet market, half of the TV/Internet-bundle market and a third of the pay-TV market. (See what Comcast will control.)
To get a glimpse of the future you sometimes need to look at the past. We reviewed Comcast’s prices for its basic and premium cable packages from 2009–2013 and found that Comcast has hiked its rates far more than competitors AT&T, Cablevision and DISH. In fact, during this same period Time Warner actually lowered its prices for basic cable.
If the merger goes through, Time Warner Cable customers can say goodbye to that trend.
When the deal was first announced, NYU Professor and former Free Press Board Chairman Tim Wu pointed out that “Among household expenses, few things have risen quite as quickly as the cable bill.”
“Unless the FCC thinks that there is a realistic chance that the deal will reverse two decades of rising prices,” Wu continued, “it should stop the merger.”
As it turns out even Comcast doesn’t think the merger will lower prices. “We're certainly not promising that customer bills are going to go down or even increase less rapidly," Comcast Executive VP David Cohen told journalists when the merger was announced. So that’s settled.
We've known from the start that the merger would be bad for prices, competition and the future of the Internet. Now we have the facts to back it up.
Over the coming weeks we’ll look in depth at the issues each of our infographics raises. For now, check out the graphics and share them with your networks. And tell the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to stop the merger.