Bad news for anyone who needs cheap internet: Comcast has dropped its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. The deal, which would have cost an incredible $45 billion, collapsed when regulators decided to turn to an administrative judge.
Let’s answer a couple of the most important questions raised by the announcement:
Why is this considered bad news? Because Comcast offers customers the incredibly inexpensive Internet Essentials program in the areas it does business, and experts — including us — assumed that Time Warner would also begin offering the $9.95 per month service as one of the conditions regulators would require to approve the merger/acquisition.
Why didn’t regulators like the proposed merger? Critics said the merger would put too much power in the hands of one company. Comcast is the nation’s largest cable and broadband company and Time Warner is number two. The combined company would have controlled 30 percent of TV and 55 percent of broadband internet subscribers, which is too much power for one company.
Critics hailed the announcement because they believed that the merger would reduce competition and result in higher prices and less consumer choice.
Some industry observers don’t believe the deal is completely dead and that it, or some other merger of industry giants, will it rise up out of the grave like a zombie on the cable TV show “The Walking Dead?” They wouldn’t be surprised if Charter Communications, the nation’s fourth largest cable TV provider, swoops in to purchase Time Warner.
Despite the fact that Time Warner will not become part of the Comcast family, we urge the company to introduce a program similar to Comcast’s Internet Essentials. This valuable program is already helping millions of low-income Americans bring high-speed broadband service to their homes for just $9.95 per month.
Here’s a list of cities and states in which Time Warner is the primary internet service provider. Millions of needy families live in these areas and we hope Time Warner management will see the light and begins offering a program that parallels the efforts of Comcast’s Internet Essentials.
Alabama – Dothan, Enterprise
Arizona – Yuma
California – Barstow, Desert Cities, El Centro, Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Palm Springs
Colorado – Gunnison, Telluride
Hawaii (operating as Oceanic Time Warner Cable) – Honolulu
Idaho – Coeur d’Alene, Moscow
Indiana – Terre Haute
Kansas – Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Shawnee
Kentucky – Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky, Ashland
Maine – Bangor, Portland/Auburn, Presque Isle
Massachusetts – Athol, Pittsfield
Missouri – Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit
Nebraska – Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Omaha
North Carolina – Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Wilmington
New Hampshire – Berlin, Keene
New Jersey – Bergen County, Hudson County
New York – New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, most of western Brooklyn), Mount Vernon (parts of Westchester County), Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Watertown
Ohio – Akron, Bowling Green/North Baltimore, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Findlay/Lima, and Youngstown
Pennsylvania – Erie County, Sharon, Franklin
South Carolina – Columbia, Sumter, Florence, Summerville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach
Texas – Arlington, Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen, Killeen/Temple, Laredo, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Waco, and Wichita Falls
Virginia – Charlotte, Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point, Greenville/New Bern/Washington, Norfolk, Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, Wilmington
Washington – Pullman
West Virginia – Clarksburg, Weston
Wisconsin – Green Bay/Appleton, Milwaukee
Time Warner makes billions of dollars a year. Spend a little of that profit to close the Digital Divide and benefit the needy people in all the areas you serve.