The Comcast-Time Warner combination deserves close scrutiny.
Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Comcast already possesses sufficient market power to behave as any such firm would: offer appallingly poor service. The Financial Times reports that Comcast and Time Warner “rank at the bottom of customer service satisfaction studies.” A combination of these companies might not reduce the number of delivery systems available to consumers in any zip code, as Comcast argues, but it would reduce the market for innovations by increasing the size of the sunk investment to be protected, and make it more difficult for providers of content for the combination’s digital pipes to compete with content provided by the new powerhouse.
Or so it seems. It would be bad policy and unfair to just say “no” before fuller inquiry. But healthy skepticism towards claims of consumer advantage, and insistence that political clout count for naught, do seem appropriate.
Irwin M. Stelzer is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute, and a columnist for the Sunday Times (London).
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