Hardly a day goes by when we don't hear something about the conundrum with ISPs in the U.S., and today is no exception. We've spent a long time waiting, but Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gave an update on what will happen with the TWC/Comcast merger by saying that it's going "full steam ahead."
The merger was proposed back in February, and it will take place as a stock swap, with Comcast buying all of TWC's shares for $45 billion. The merger would result in the biggest broadband cable provider in the U.S., which many feel should not happen. Many believe it would give Comcast too much power over the ISP space, with some going as far as suggesting that the merger is monopolistic behavior.
Comcast's defense against the monopolistic behavior argument is that Comcast and TWC do not operate in the same areas anyway, with only a very small coverage overlap area.
Many related companies have also expressed clear disapproval of the merger, including Netflix, which flat out asked the FCC not to permit the deal. This is because the ISPs have been asking content providers such as Netflix to pay additional fees in order to give their traffic the same priority as other web traffic over their networks, which goes against the net neutrality stance. Perhaps if Obama's statement on net neutrality gets implemented, the merger won't bother content providers like Netflix as much, although that doesn't make it ideal.
The merger between Comcast and TWC and the fight for an open Internet are two separate issues, although if both sway the wrong way the U.S. broadband industry will certainly have leaped to the dark side.
We're still waiting for the FCC to announce whether it is approving or blocking the merger. The review is expected to be completed in early 2015. Considering that we don't know the outcome of this yet, we're curious how Roberts can be confident enough to say that the merger is going to happen.