#time warner cable

Shalini Ramachandran, Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Amol Sharma:

Apple has had discussions since at least mid-2012 with Time Warner Cable Inc., the No. 2 operator, people familiar with the matter said. Those talks, known internally at Time Warner Cable as “Project Jupiter,” came to a standstill when the cable operator became a takeover target, the people said. Comcast in February agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal regulators are reviewing that would give Comcast a total of 30 million U.S. customers, after proposed divestitures.

So, of course Apple is now talking with Comcast. Anyone could have predicted that (and did!). What choice do they have? None, now.

And, of course:

Apple and Comcast aren’t close to an agreement, said one person familiar with the talks.

I’m shocked — SHOCKED — that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal has the potential to screw users in more ways than one.

Dan Rayburn:

Today’s news is very simple to understand. Netflix decided it made sense to pay Comcast for every port they use to connect to Comcast’s network, like many other content owners and network providers have done. This is how the Internet works, and it’s not about providing better access for one content owner over another, it simply comes down to Netflix making a business decision that it makes sense for them to deliver their content directly to Comcast, instead of through a third party. Tied into Netflix’s decision is the fact that Comcast guarantees a certain level of quality to Netflix, via their SLA, which could be much better than Netflix was getting from a transit provider. While I don’t know the price Comcast is charging Netflix, I can guarantee you it’s at the fair market price for transit in the market today and Comcast is not overcharging Netflix like some have implied. Many are quick to want to argue that Netflix should not have to pay Comcast anything, but they are missing the point that Netflix is already paying someone who connects with Comcast. It’s not a new cost to them.

While this may be a tempest-in-a-teapot situation, I assume most people are freaking out here because of this news mixed with the proposed Time Warner Cable acquisition. And I’m fine with that because people should be freaking out about the latter, even if not the former.

David Carr on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal:

Foremost, Comcast already has a huge regulatory win in the bank. Its proposed acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2009 was met with abundant skepticism, with consumer advocates contending that control over both so much content and distribution gave it too much market power. The company maneuvered its way past those hurdles and won approval by making some concessions and commitments, and it is in an even stronger position today.

Consider that one of the Federal Communications Commission regulators who approved the NBCUniversal deal, Meredith Attwell Baker, now works for Comcast as a lobbyist. Since that deal, there has been a change in leadership at the commission, and it is now run by Tom Wheeler, who was previously a chief lobbyist for the cable industry. (Comcast is among the biggest spenders on lobbying, having written checks for $18 million in 2013 alone.)

The deck is absolutely stacked for this deal to happen. Which is, of course, total bullshit. Continues Carr:

Cable is a necessary evil that works best when we can exercise consumer choice. I live in northern New Jersey and used to be a Comcast customer — I dumped it after one of its technicians pointed to the cable running through the trees and said I might not have a great connection when the wind was blowing. I switched to Verizon FiOS’s fiber-optic service and have been very happy since. (Not cheap, but it works.) When, you might ask, will the fiber-optic future arrive at your house? How about never? Does never sound good?

No, it does not. But much of the cable market has already been divided up — as the executives behind the merger noted, Time Warner and Comcast do not overlap in any markets, and Verizon has previously agreed not to expand. Comcast, which will now have less competition, will have less motivation to invest in building out infrastructure like fiber-optic networks at the expense of its shareholders.

It’s not so much that Comcast is stifling some existing competition here — it’s that they’re ensuring there will never be any competition to speak of. And even if this monopolist is benevolent, they’ll have no true incentive to push innovation forward. And that hurts us all in so many more ways than just our checkbooks.

Yankees To Buy Red Sox

True story: this evening, I found myself at a Comcast event. I drank the free booze. Had some hors d’oeuvres. Watched some 4K Super Ultra HD.1 Grand old regular night.

Nope.

Awkward.

Here’s the thing: the people who work at Comcast all seem nice enough. They are human beings after all. And I’d never begrudge anyone from earning a living. But Comcast as an entity is like a horror story of regulation gone bad.

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Cliff Edwards on Intel’s progress in making a cable TV competitor:

Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV operators are offering incentives to media companies to withhold content from Web-based entertainment services such as the one Intel is pursuing, people with knowledge of the matter said this month. The incentives can take the form of higher payments, or they can include threats to drop programming, the people said then.

Total jackassery.

Such a great logo.
Oh, and a good post by Anthony Crupi for AdWeek: Legacy Cable Operators in Austin Are Terrified of Google Fiber.
Crupi:

On paper, literally everything about Google Fiber makes standard digital-cable service look like something that was cobbled together by members of a lesser phylum. Boasting gigabit download/upload speeds (up to 1,000 Megabits per second), Google’s connectivity is roughly 70 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s standard 15 Mbps plan. 

The incumbents are scared shitless. And rightfully so. For far too long they’ve coasted on their over-priced crap services.

Such a great logo.

Oh, and a good post by Anthony Crupi for AdWeek: Legacy Cable Operators in Austin Are Terrified of Google Fiber.

Crupi:

On paper, literally everything about Google Fiber makes standard digital-cable service look like something that was cobbled together by members of a lesser phylum. Boasting gigabit download/upload speeds (up to 1,000 Megabits per second), Google’s connectivity is roughly 70 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s standard 15 Mbps plan. 

The incumbents are scared shitless. And rightfully so. For far too long they’ve coasted on their over-priced crap services.

After my post last night about HBO breaking its cable addiction, a number of you pointed out that this will never happen because HBO is owned by Time Warner.

That’s true — but remember that Time Warner Cable hasn’t been affiliated with Time Warner since 2009. They share a name (which they use under license), but they’re a completely independent company. Time Warner owns HBO, not Time Warner Cable. 

If you want proof of just how unaffiliated the two are now, look no further than the fact that Time Warner Cable is only now getting HBO Go access. Comcast and a dozen other cable providers got access first as TW/TWC negotiations dragged on. 

So while it’s a bit confusing, HBO’s Time Warner parent shouldn’t hamper my plan. Time Warner should be looking towards the future, not their old cable subsidiary.