Save Me Steve: Comcast & Time Warner Merger - Dallas News |

Save Me Steve: Comcast & Time Warner Merger

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The Time Warner and Comcast merger has many people asking what will happen to cable and Internet service.

Most likely, the company will become Comcast.

Under the deal, Comcast will acquire all of Time Warner's 11 million subscribers.

There is a magic number in order to get it approved by regulators. Comcast has to keep its new combined market share under 30 percent, so it has agreed to divest or give away about 3 million of its subscribers.

There is no word yet on who those subscribers will be or where they will go. Most likely they will be sold to another provider.

How likely is this deal to be approved?

The key with any of these buyouts or mergers as far as regulators are concerned is what does this do to competition.

The country is divided in such a way right now that Comcast and Time Warner don't compete for customers.

So it's not as if eliminating one of them would eliminate choice for consumers, because they don't have access to both in their market anyway.

That is very good news as far as the approval process goes.

Is there any word on the combination of features for the surviving service?

Early word suggests that Comcast would incorporate some of Time Warners' more popular features like the start over feature for a program that is already in progress and the look back feature to watch shows that recently aired.

In addition, Comcast seems to have plans to keep Time Warner's network of 30,000 Wi-Fi hot spots and its home security system.

On the flip side, once they become Comcast customers current Time Warner folks would have access to Comcast's premium services like Xfinity TV.

Will prices go up?

The limit for competition here is mostly for any new players in the game. Going up against such a large company as a startup will be very challenging.

As far as a price hike or reduction, Comcast is going from about 22 million subscriber to 30 million, which might have *some* impact on negotiating power but not much.

Hopefully Comcast allows current TWC customers to be grandfathered into is their unlimited Internet plan, something Comcast does not offer.

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