FCC chairman Tom Wheeler last week called for meaningful competition in the high-speed wired broadband market. He mentioned no company names, but many observers (see here, for example) commented that his remarks signaled bad news for a proposed acquisition by Comcast of Time Warner Cable.
Now, Comcast has responded. Referring to Wheeler, David L. Cohen, Comcast's executive vice president and chief diversity officer in public policy, writes, “We applaud his focus on the importance of broadband competition to benefit all Americans.”
Addressing the competitive aspects of a Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, Cohen writes, “The facts are simple. Our transaction will have no negative impact on the competitiveness of the broadband consumer market. As we have detailed in our Public Interest Statement, our two companies don’t compete for customers anywhere. Every consumer in America will have the same choices among broadband providers after this transaction as before.”
The key to continued innovation and competition, he writes, lies not in thwarting the merger but rather in promoting private investment. He continues, “At Comcast alone, we have invested tens of billions of dollars in our network and continue to invest in it every year. We have increased broadband speeds 13 times in the last 12 years, and now provide our residential customers with speeds up to 505 Mb/s. We have pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually to improve Time Warner Cable’s networks, which will bring higher speeds and greater reliability and enhanced competition in the broadband marketplace. And, when we invest, we incentivize our competitors to invest, too, helping to fuel the virtuous cycle of investment and reinvestment referenced by the Chairman in his remarks, benefiting even more Americans.”
Unfortunately for me, Comcast's potential competitor here in North Cambridge (a couple of miles of twisted-pair cable away from the nearest Central Office) hasn't thus far been incentivized.
Read Cohen's full statement here.