updated 11:31 am EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
256 page FCC filing lays out case for rejection of merger
Video streamer Netflix has formally objected to the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger, with a complaint filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week. The streamer believes that the merger hampers consumer access to data, and "would set up an ecosystem that calls into question what we have to date taken for granted: that a consumer who pays for connectivity to the Internet will be able to get the content she requests."
The 256-page complaint summarizes all of the actions, and lack of actions, that the pair have taken against Netflix, calling them to task for each. Netflix claims that if the merger is allowed to take place, "the transaction will result in one provider passing more than half of the country's addressable broadband households."
Possible consequences of the merger, as seen by Netflix, are increasing of rivals' costs, discriminatory strategies undertaken by the giant, and unfair advantages in negotiations for content and other business deals. The complaint claims that Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't address FCC guidelines laid forth for previous major mergers, and as such, shouldn't be allowed to happen.
Netflix further points out that Comcast and Time Warner Cable have consistently failed to hold up to promises to expand in underserved areas, and this is unlikely to change after a merger. Additionally, the complaint addresses that the pair purports that 3Mbps is sufficient for classification as "broadband access," despite the FCC's proposal of a redefinition of broadband speeds to 10Mbps. The current definition of broadband, at 4Mbps, is still higher than the two providers' definition.