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Government Businesses The Internet

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan 114

techpolicy (3586897) writes "Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has brought the issue of the digital divide and the federal government's failing policies to decrease it back onto center stage, according to an article by the Center for Public Integrity. Comcast has told the Federal Communications Commission that it will offer its discounted Internet program for low-income customers to residents living in Time Warner Cable's service areas — if the FCC approves the purchase. Comcast offered FCC the same deal in 2011 when it bought NBCUniversal. But the low-cost program, called Internet Essentials, has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched nearly three years ago. While the FCC and other federal agencies have spent billions of dollars trying to provide broadband access and training programs to the poor to close the divide, so far the policies haven't worked much. The percentage difference between Americans earning below $30,000 who have an Internet connection in their home and those earning $75,000 or more who have an in-home connection has narrowed only 4 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. As the Comcast purchase moves through its regulatory approval process, the center reports that it may be time to revisit the policies that will get more poor Americans connected, especially because to function in society today you have to be online."
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Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

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  • Fuck Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday May 29, 2014 @12:35AM (#47116691)

    People say "six of one, a half dozzen of the other", but I'll still take Google fiber of anything relatd to Comcast. And don't fool yourself, all broadband providers track and profile their users, I might as well get decent high-speed out of the deal.

  • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @12:37AM (#47116705)

    It's called empty promises. The primary purpose of this merger is not nor will it ever be to take care of the poor. It merely serves to unhook the approval process that would create an internet oligarchy.

    Cheap internet for anybody is the last thing that these guys want.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:19AM (#47116873) Journal

    How about Comcast has to offer the low cost internet plan to any of their customers that wants it.

  • Already here? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mycroft-X ( 11435 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @01:42AM (#47116951)

    Time Warner Cable already offers 2MBps service for $14.99 across its footprint.

    It isn't hard to find, it's right next to all the other speed options on their web site.

    Customers can buy their own modem from Best Buy or wherever or they can lease a TWC modem for $6 a month.

    I have a feeling that most customers who need a $9.99 or $14.99 internet plan probably aren't going to front $300 for Google Fiber to be installed, or even own the place they would be paying for it to be installed in.

  • Time for ObamaNet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:01AM (#47117001)

    Make purchase of Comcast internet a mandatory thing for all americans.

    Now the poor have internet, and are only somewhat more poor!

    Hey, it worked for the insurance industry and healthcare policies.

    Although to be fair the analogy is not really complete unless you also make all americans purchase HBA/Showtime/MLB packages.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @05:30AM (#47117599) Homepage

    Have you ever tried to do this? Without your own car? Perhaps with a disability? Are you lucky enough to live in a city that has a library? How far is it to walk to it from where you live? Do you have cold winters there, or hot and humid summers? Is there public transportation that goes from near your house to the library? If so, how many buses does it take? What's the fare, and how much does that add up to if you do it once a day? How long does the ride take? Do you have someone to watch your kids while you do it, or do you bring them along? Did it even occur to you to consider any of these questions?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @06:31AM (#47117731)
    One of Comcast's arguments for the merger is that current Comcast and Time Warner customers won't be affected because the two companies compete in very few markets. Consequently, customers will not suffer from reduced competition if the two companies should merge.

    But by forcing the Netflix deal, Comcast has turned every Internet site out there into a (potential) customer. Netflix has to pay Comcast = Netflix is a customer. In the market for access deals with web sites, Comcast and Time Warner are competitors (Netflix does not need to make deals with both of them, and can leverage the better service on one ISP to pressure the other into making a cheaper deal). Therefore, a Comcast and Time Warner merger reduces competition.

Loose bits sink chips.