After Comcast terminated its deal to buy Time Warner Cable today, government officials explained why they worked behind the scenes to kill the merger.
Though they never publicly stated their intentions after the deal was dead, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission had made it clear to Comcast that they were unlikely to let the merger proceed. They listened to merger opponents who described numerous problems, but one concern stood out above all others: that Comcast, already the biggest cable company in the nation, could use its increased size to stifle the competition that online video streaming services pose to cable TV.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation especially given the growing importance of high-speed broadband to online video and innovative new services.” The DOJ said it “informed the companies that it had significant concerns that the merger would make Comcast an unavoidable gatekeeper for Internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers.”
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