Essential Pittsburgh
4:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Comcast Merger with Time Warner Concerns FCC

Philadelphia-based Comcast hopes to buy New York-based Time Warner.
Credit Steve Garfield / flickr

Media giants Comcast and Time Warner may change the way consumers receive their cable, television, and internet, pending negotiations with the FCC over a merger of the two companies.

Critics worry that a merger would create a cable monopoly with zero competition in areas where Comcast and Time Warner serve as the sole provider.

Philadelphia Inquirer consumer and technology columnist Jeff Gelles says the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department had to update how they define essential services to include cable TV as the dominant provider of broadband Internet. 

There is no law that prevents the two media giants from being competitors, but both boast they do not do business in the same zip code. Part of this zoning may be due to the FCC’s work to ensure only one cable company provides for a single city.

La Roche College Associate Professor of Communication, Media, and Technology Jeff Ritter says the FCC will likely let the merger happen, saying this act is all part of a trend of deregulating and getting government out of the picture to make way for innovation in many fields.

“The biggest thing they’re worried about is the net neutrality issue. I think that if the public understands it and the FCC publicizes it well enough, Congress will have to act. The Internet is a public space now, it’s a resource and a utility. And we need equal access to the Internet for anybody. That’s what made the Internet work for all these years...and the only way that’s going to continue is with net neutrality.”

What’s net neutrality? It is the notion that everything on the Internet should be treated equally. Small businesses and startup websites should not be stifled on the web because they aren’t as complex or wealthy as bigger companies like Amazon.com, who have a larger presence on the web.