Just in case anyone needed more convincing that a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be a monumental fuck-up, a new survey shows that the companies are the least-liked in every industry in which they operate, from broadband to television and beyond.
Allowing these companies to merge wouldn’t just give the combined company undue influence over the United States’ Internet infrastructure — it would also create a confluence of public fury that hasn’t been seen since some legendary princess told the starving French to eat cake.
This consumer anger might actually be a good thing. A Comcast-Time Warner merger would threaten the free Internet, but it’s hard to convince people that they should care about ideals like that; it’s much easier to show them that their broadband company is merging with another company that is hated as much or more than their own.
It’s a fun thing to imagine: millions of consumers changing Internet providers, allowing the industry to be more competitive instead of placing so much influence into the hands of two companies that care more about their revenues than customers or ideals. It might even allow the United States to build Internet infrastructure that doesn’t totally suck.
But that’s never going to happen, because these companies share a near-duopoly over broadband services in many places around the country, giving them a stranglehold on the market. The combined company would only have even more power.
Idealism can’t prevent this merger from happening. The fury of millions of consumers may not either, because they don’t have many other options to connect to the Internet. If they did they probably would have abandoned these giants long ago, creating a market where companies compete on service and price instead of their ability to get away with the infrastructural equivalent to murder. Millions of people would be affected by this merger, but there’s almost nothing they can do to prevent it from happening.
At least we have regulatory bodies and government commissions that aren’t staffed with former cable lobbyists and Comcast employees, right? That would be a complete disaster… wait, that’s what we have now? Well, then I guess we’d better “hold on to our butts” after all.
[image via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books]