Comcast Pitches Public Interest Benefits Of Time Warner Cable Meld - Broadcasting & Cable

Comcast Pitches Public Interest Benefits Of Time Warner Cable Meld

Emphasizes extension of net neutrality conditions and ramping up high-speed broadband deployment
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Comcast says its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable—combining the number one and number two cable operator and major ISPs—is "pro-consumer, pro-competitive, strongly in the public interest, and approvable."

The last will be up to the FCC and Justice Department/FTC to determine, but in a public interest summary accompanying the deal details, Comcast points out that the deal would mean bringing Time Warner Cable in line with network neutrality rules, online program access rules, and give TV stations greater retrans protections in the TWC markets being acquired.

Those are all conditions agreed to by Comcast in order to get approval for its deal to buy NBCU.

It also framed the deal as a way to boost broadband speeds and deployment, both things the FCC and Obama Administration are pushing hard.

Comcast says that after it divests some 3 million subs, the total sub gain will be about 8 million, meaning it would be under the old 30% national ownership cap on cable that was thrown out by the courts.

As to the "automatic application" of "certain" NBCU conditions to TWC assets, Comcast made a big point of the network neutrality conditions:

"The FCC’s Open Internet protections will be extended to millions of additional broadband customers, irrespective of whether the FCC reestablishes such protections for other industry participants. Thus, unlike all other broadband subscribers in the country, the new company's broadband customers will enjoy the protections of the no blocking and non-discrimination rules that were put in place by the FCC, notwithstanding the action by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacating those rules."

"Affordable standalone broadband service will be made available and marketed in the acquired systems."

"Protections for online video distributors will extend to Time Warner Cable content."

"MVPDs, as well as OVDs, will continue to have defined rights to arbitrate for NBCUniversal programming, which will also include the modest additional controlled programming assets that Comcast acquires from Time Warner Cable."

"More cable systems and communities will benefit from the public interest commitments in the NBCUniversal transaction 'diversity, localism, broadband adoption.'"

"Broadcast stations in the acquired markets will have greater protection in their retransmission consent negotiations with Comcast in the acquired systems."

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