Comcast Expansions Under Microscope

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Comcast and their coming expansions are being dissected under a microscope by their competition and the government. Their planned merger with Time Warner Cable, though now being examined by government regulators, is not the only new area the cable conglomerate has plans to invade. What is considered Netflix territory is also feeling the ambitious Comcast expansion, but some customers are citing a lack of individual support as evidence for the company merger to be blocked.

The Federal Communications Commission has begun to ask detailed questions regarding the proposed merger of the two largest cable companies in America. As of Thursday, FCC regulators have asked for even more information on T.V. cable systems, internet services and any outside arrangements as outlined within the $45 billion dollar deal. Their 50-page request specifically targeted a claim from them that this acquisition would produce “cost savings and other synergies,” that would be valued at $1.5 billion in savings for customers.

Some organizations have expressed concern over this possible super-company that “we can’t control.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was recently denied a request for more time to rally support behind ceasing this deal that may have 1.8 million L.A. residents switching services. The leader of the outspoken group named Public Citizen, Robert Weissman, warned that this “Frankenstein,” could lead to huge price hikes and “plummeting service,” in an email also worded to rally support. The FCC has placed a Sept. 8 deadline on any further submitted problems against the proposed deal.

Comcast is also offering expansions into new, instant services that are under a Netflix microscope. The national leader in cable is working on a service targeted for college students that doesn’t require a physical box and can be watched on multiple devices. This service would be cost-effective for universities as it would be taken through back channels that are separated from public internet, keeping bandwidth costs down. The price of the proposed service would be rolled into room and board fees, making it available for anyone that stays on campus.

The cable entity is on the move in other ways as well, such as building technological infrastructures within certain communities. Denver, CO is in the midst of an upgrade due to Comcast expanding their wireless network to cover most of the downtown area. On top of that addition, an Innovation Center will also be made from an old building in the same area and will serve as a business crossroads for non-profit organizations, students and other entrepreneurs. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released a statement praising the entire project and says the higher internet speeds downtown will create new job opportunities.

Earlier this month, Comcast came under a microscope for reasons other than expansions. YouTube user Aaron Spain recorded his hold time with their customer support, documenting it at over three hours, and was never helped as the lines closed for the day with him still on hold. “I’m pissed,” was all he could say when the line went dead in the video. Another attempt the very next day bore results, a cancellation of his service, in only 17 minutes, and the video going viral prompted an executive at Comcast to call and apologize for the company. Spain responded by saying “[the apology] seemed genuine.”

By Myles Gann

Sources:

Los Angeles Times
Wall Street Journal
The Denver Post
CNN

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