There’s been some news on the
cable front since the last time I blogged about cable (Cable in Cleveland Takes Another Step Back - Cox to Close Call Center). There’s no
new news on the Cox Communications front. But there's been some new developments in a few areas. Cleveland
We have new
information from the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. While they are still
making their case to get approval, Charter has re-entered the
picture. Charter made a deal with Comcast that will give them the 3
million+ subs that Comcast said it would divest as part of the merger.
will be one of
the areas that will be transitioned to Charter (Time Warner Cable Customers in Ohio to Join Charter Communications if Comcast Merger Succeeds). Cleveland
Instead of getting the innovations of powerhouse Comcast, Clevelanders will get
service from upstart Charter. I haven’t seen much about their service that is
unique from any other cable company...in fact, they seem like they have a few
less options, at least from a video standpoint. Again, the Comcast acquisition
has not been approved yet and nothing is set in stone. I do expect it to be
approved, but that’s not to say there won’t be additional conditions that could affect
Meanwhile, it came out this week that AT&T may be very close to acquiring DirecTV (AT&T is Closing in on DirecTV). This was a mild surprise as most of the rumors had been about a possible DirecTV/Dish Network merger. AT&T already has a partnership with DirecTV, so it’s not completely out of nowhere. This would give AT&T a national presence. The question I have is what AT&T’s long term plan would be for video. I’ve got to assume that they’d like to expand U-verse to the new customers at some point. I just don’t think they’d want to be in the satellite equipment game due to the expense. Plus, it fragments their focus between the two video options. That being said, it’s also a huge expense to build out their U-verse service throughout the country. Ultimately, I think the play here is for their Internet service. With DirecTV not having a true Internet solution, there’s a huge bundling opportunity.
It’s not known yet if getting approval for this deal would have an effect on the approval for the Comcast/Time Warner deal. What’s being said is that it’s likely that they’d either both be approved or neither would be approved. It would be hard to justify allowing one, but not the other.
Just a quick update on Net Neutrality. If you’re not familiar with what net neutrality is, here’s a quick summary. Internet providers (cable companies like Comcast, telcos like AT&T, etc.) control the streams that carry internet content to your computer. They can control how much of that stream (and thus the speed of it) can be used by certain Internet content. With net neutrality, Internet providers would not be able to offer faster streams to those that pay (like Netflix just agreed to pay Comcast) or slow down/block the streams to your computer.