We Don't Need Another Cable Giant.

Thanks to the FCC, two-thirds of our nation's high-speed internet subscribers may soon be under the control of just two companies.

According to a recent article over at CommonDreams.org, that agency has approved Charter Communication's $90 billion dollar takeover of two other cable providers: Time Warner and Bright House Networks.

Despite the fact that more than 300,000 public comments were submitted regarding the deal, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated an approval order after Charter agreed to a set of so-called “consumer-friendly” conditions. As if we haven't heard those promises before...

Craig Aaron, the president and CEO of Free Press, said, “Thanks to this merger both Charter and Comcast now have unprecedented control over our cable and Internet connections.” He added, “Their crushing monopoly power will mean fewer choices, higher prices, no accountability, and no competition.”

And, that is pretty much everything that the FCC was supposed to protect against. We shouldn't be increasing the size of monopolies, we should be breaking them up, and this cable merger should have been blocked.

Comments

Ou812's picture
Ou812 6 years 31 weeks ago
#1

I don't understand progressive thinking: How is a monopoly good with single payer healthcare, and bad with cable companies? I'm much more concerned with my health, than what I watch on tv. Competition works! For healthcare, for cable TV, for everything

Legend 6 years 31 weeks ago
#2

Does competition work Ou812? The USA is ranked dead last in medical care.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/06/16/u-s-healthcare-ranked-de...

We also do not rank in the top 10 for internet speed and probably pay the most:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Internet_connection_s...

Qoheleth 6 years 31 weeks ago
#3

I have yet to see a corporate merger in which customer service improved, prices didn't go up, and American workers were not laid off. I told the FCC that, but they don't give two hoots in a whirlwind what people like me think.

Op Ed Daily's picture
Op Ed Daily 6 years 31 weeks ago
#4

The difference is profit. Some things in life should have no profit incentives and one of those things in life is Health; the others are education and prisons.

These companies should be for-profit, but they shouldn't be afraid of competition. Lack of competition stifles innovation and price-competitiveness.

And I think you've forgotten that they didn't just create a bigger monopoly on TV, but also on the internet as well. I could care less about the TV, because I haven't owned one since I graduated High School, but the internet is a different story.

S. Korea's internet is not only faster than that of the US, but it is also cheaper and much more widely available (this includes wireless internet).

In fact, if the internet were to be considered a utility that should be accessible by everyone (which it should), towns all across the nation could create their own co-op that provides internet access. That level of competitiveness and "benefit" might well fix the issues we see today with our internet freedoms and access.

But for those that still have cable TV, they're still getting screwed since everything is going to cost more due to high costs of administrator, CEO, and shareholder profits coupled with a lack of competition.

Anything else?

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 31 weeks ago
#5

#3 - I guess the FCC is a self perpetuating Institution and is likely influenced or bought that carries its own agenda

Beware! Such entities are generally full of loser humans with no concern for anyone or anything other than self preservation

cccccttttt 6 years 31 weeks ago
#6

Internet is too important to leave to private companies.

Run as utility.

South Korea and Japan have cheap excellent interenet and

they do this in effect.

ct

Willie W's picture
Willie W 6 years 31 weeks ago
#7

I'm with DISH, but that didn't stop me from putting up an outdoor TV antenna. Fun to fool with. Works good. I'm getting some local channels not offered by subscription. I'm using both for now. If Pay TV gets stupid, I'll just drop it. Internet will be tougher to lose.

Ger320's picture
Ger320 6 years 31 weeks ago
#8

"

I don't understand progressive thinking: How is a monopoly good with single payer healthcare, and bad with cable companies? I'm much more concerned with my health, than what I watch on tv. Competition works! For healthcare, for cable TV, for everything"

Reply: Single payer re health care is public ownership. That is the difference.

Ger320's picture
Ger320 6 years 31 weeks ago
#9

Single payer re health care is government, that is the difference.

Ger320's picture
Ger320 6 years 31 weeks ago
#10

Right. On.

ckcoleman's picture
ckcoleman 6 years 31 weeks ago
#11

When did the Federal government decide ignoring the Sherman Anti Trust act would be a good idea?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 31 weeks ago
#12

Conservatives just love the unregulated free market.....makes it so easy for their beloved Fascists to consolidate power and wealth. It's amazing how quickly their free market capitalism morphs into extreme monopoly capitalism.

Walmart!

ChicagoMatt 6 years 31 weeks ago
#13

When did high speed internet become a necessary utility? If someone can't afford it, or can't afford to be in the "fast lane", are they being opressed? If so, when did that opression start? I didn't have high-speed internet until about 8 years ago. Was I being opressed before that? I mean, it existed. I just couldn't afford it back then.

I understand the Progressive idea that just because a thing exists, and it makes your life easier, everyone should have access to it. But that doesn't mesh with reality. There are a lot of things that exist, and would make all of our lives easier. Why stop with high speed internet?

RH's picture
RH 6 years 31 weeks ago
#14

I cut the cord & am saving 1000s/yr.

I support freespeechtv although it remains unreliable, so keep up with youtube alternatives.

I am continuing with Internet as long as feasible.

I don't agree with FCC regulation, because they are not serving the greater good of democracy for Free Speech.

I agree with Internet as a Utility, but wonder about easier monitoring it may cause.

I can use a pause in any service as a means of protest relying on a low budget android Smart Phone.

I wish I had a pithy solution to suggest.

jeffnvegas's picture
jeffnvegas 6 years 31 weeks ago
#15

The three or 4 health providers left in the country ARE monopilies. Why am I not sure about that spelling? Anyway, when the public option was removed from Obama Care it made health insurance mandatory, but without the government in the mix for them to compete with. So now being that it's the law to have to buy insurance those companies can fix the price they want to charge. That was Obama and Harry Reid and friends that allowed them to do it just to get it passed. Otherwise there never would have been enough Republican support to get the legislation passed. The butchered version of the original legislation gave insurance companies carte blanche to charge whatever they like because they HAVE NO COMPETITION. That's why your bills are so high!!! A single payer health system still allows you to buy private insurance if you like, but if you can get the same services from the government than insurance companies, if they want your business/ money, will HAVE TO OFFER A BETTER DEAL to get it!!!! DUH....

ErinRose's picture
ErinRose 6 years 31 weeks ago
#16

It is very disconcerting to see our government, time and time again, ignore the wishes of We, the People. However, they wouldn't be able to get away with this if so many (misguided and misinformed) citizens weren't so blindly pro-corporate. The FCC must not have much fear of the will of the people as it awards more and more to the private sector.

The main stream media, and other outlets, like a Tea Party Politics newsletter I get, are constantly pumping out hysterical lies about how only Conservative policies serve all businesses and business people. Thus, under-informed people insist that the F(r)EE Market must be allowed a free rein, and that any regulation or taxation will be a certain death to all businesses; both large and small.

These people just don't get that big box businesses eat small businesses for lunch, and far from welcoming competition, big box businesses pointedly seek monopolies, for which there is plenty of evidence. And that organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce only support the best interests of big box businesses and not the interests of small businesses at all.

This is a real problem because small businesses just don't see that the policies being established by the corporations are an inherent danger; not only to small businesses but to society and the world as a whole.

This leads me to having strong feelings about education. For me, reading, writing and arithmetic do not constitute a "good education". These are skill sets and don't teach critical thinking.

I believe we need to change our society from a classed structure where rich or "professional" people (white collar workers) are viewed as having a higher status because of their education. All people should have the best education in critical thinking possible, and prestige should be awarded, not on the basis of what type of work you do, but rather on whether or not you work at all; are you a contributing member of society? I saw this in Scandinavia many decades ago and it gives dignity to all members of society, meanwhile you get a populace that is capable of better thinking.

When the Beatles first started appearing over here in the mid 1960's, they were doing TV interviews. One thing that struck me immediately was that even though they were only "kids" and poor kids with scant higher education, they could discuss just about any advanced subject and seemed better educated than out college graduates (my father was an educator). I was impressed by their level of intelligence and intellectual curiosity and felt that Americans lacked the same.

I feel that this lacking is playing itself out in our collective blindness toward the enemy at our door, and if this country continues to fail to see the problems that come with embracing corporate rule; if this country fails to come about, and soon, I think America and the world are in for some very bad times looking forward.

snax's picture
snax 6 years 31 weeks ago
#17

#1, the problem is that you are conflating two different things: Insurance and service providers.

There is not, nor will there ever likely be a monopoly for health care service providers. That is where the competition will always remain.

Who will provide the fastest access to care? The best quality of service? The friendliest staff? The most efficient handling of patients?

All of those points will make or break the wheat from the chaffe.

Internet companies however have natural monopolies built into the system by which their services are provided. We don't want 20 different lines for 20 different providers running through the air or underground to provide the same thing. We don't arguably ever need more than one even if the level of service and cost for that is regulated and reasonable.

There is no choice for consumers in most markets anyway, which really begs the broader question of whether internet providers should be privatized in the first place. Arguably, the internet is, or at least should be, ubiquitous. It is essential to a modern technical world, and increasingly, it is replacing plain old telephone service en masse. That is how our modern society communicates, and consumers being held hostage to the profit demands of a single service provider amounts to extorsion for what has become an essential service.

Edward J. Dodson's picture
Edward J. Dodson 6 years 31 weeks ago
#18

An equally important question is whether there is sufficient competition to cable providers in these markets. Smaller companies may not be able to invest in the type of improvements in technology to compete with FIOS, with Direct TV, etc. So, the one question I have is whether consumers have adequate choices between service providers. If not, then the monopoly needs to be more stringently regulated. This may be an issue each state will need to address, or even each locality.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 6 years 31 weeks ago
#19

Snax,

I agree with you, under todays health care system there is a difference between insurance and service providers. Under single payer, that distinction will vanish. Under single payer all health care providers will work for the same employer. Health care will become analogous to the Post Office. The staff will be different at different locations, but like the Post Office, the services offered will be the same.

The community where I live, Westminster, MD recently entered into an agreement with Ting Internet. Ting offers "crazy fast" Internet with download and upload speeds of 1000mb. (We presently have Xfinity and Verizon) The cost is $89.00/ month with startup fees of around $200.00. Check it out. BTW for you politically minded, all 5 of our county commissioners are Republican, along with the Mayor of Westminster and most, if not all of the city council.

Op Ed Daily's picture
Op Ed Daily 6 years 31 weeks ago
#20

"When did high speed internet become a necessary utility? If someone can't afford it, or can't afford to be in the "fast lane", are they being opressed? If so, when did that opression start? I didn't have high-speed internet until about 8 years ago. Was I being opressed before that? I mean, it existed. I just couldn't afford it back then.

I understand the Progressive idea that just because a thing exists, and it makes your life easier, everyone should have access to it. But that doesn't mesh with reality. There are a lot of things that exist, and would make all of our lives easier. Why stop with high speed internet?"

Electricity and water are necessary utilities, but guess what - if you can't afford it, you don't get it. Placing High-Speed, unrestricted internet access as a 'utility' doesn't mean everyone gets it for free - it simply means everyone will gain access to it and it will be cheaper.

Municipalities across the country will be better able to offer low-cost, high-speed internet access which will compete directly with large corporate interests. This will 1) further innovation in the industry in order to maintain a 'competitive edge' and 2) it will lower the cost of internet, both wireless and wired.

It's pretty sad that the richest nation in the world is 14th in terms of internet speed, especially since its point-of-origin was the US and was created, essentially, by the USDoD.

"it makes your life easier" - Sorry, but knowledge is crucial to the success of a people, and the internet places knowledge at your fingertips, so it's less about making life easier and more about having infinite knowledge at the click of a button.

That's why having unrestricted access to internet is crucial. The mainstream media is crap and the only true counter to the propaganda spread by the MSM is the internet. It is vital for our Democracy that we have easy, cheap access to high-speed internet.

60_scooterlady 6 years 31 weeks ago
#21

Pretty soon it'll be like corporate main stream media, where there is no choice but to watch entertainment news. NSA and comcast maybe are in collusion ?

just a blue collar liberal's picture
just a blue col... 6 years 30 weeks ago
#22

Tom Wheeler's previous job was as the head of the biggest telecommunication's lobbying firms, and now he's head of the FCC. Gee, I wonder why he gave this deal the nod. The revolving door between gov't and the private sector just keeps spinning.

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