The proposed merger between
Those are scary scenarios for consumers and content companies. The underlying problem for them, particularly in broadband, is that today's markets have too few competitors to protect against service providers that put their thumbs on the competitive scales. But while Comcast's takeover of Time Warner Cable wouldn't improve that situation, it wouldn't necessarily make it worse either.
Unlike AT&T and
Some supporters of the deal say that a larger Comcast-TWC entity would be able to pay TV networks less for their programs, holding down the fees that have driven up consumers' monthly cable bills. That may be true, but there's also the risk that Comcast would use its leverage over TV programmers to gain an unfair advantage over other pay-TV providers, such as DirecTV and
In broadband, the merger could accelerate Comcast's efforts to create a nationwide Wi-Fi-based data network to compete with the mobile phone companies' offerings. But it also would let Comcast impose data caps and other market-distorting restrictions on millions of additional customers. Not coincidentally, such restrictions could make life more difficult for