To those who wonder if this letter is relevant for people outside US , definiteley the answer is YES for two reasons :
I am french ; the same is happening here for the moment in the mobile providers industry ; Woody Leonard says :"On the surface, Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable looks like any other billion-dollar merger of an industry’s two largest players: consolidated operations, reduced overlap, economies of scale, and larger customer base are all supposed to lower customer costs and provide better service. (Show me one case where all that has come to pass.)" he is right ; the merging of two giants namely Numéricâble and SFR is GOING TO RAISE THE COSTS OF SUBSCRIPTION for customers as happened already in Italy for an amount of 15%!
Second , WTO and EU ARE DEFINITELY IN BIG NEGOCIATIONS for a new TRANSATLANTIC PACT ; from that point of view the worst regarding medias is to come yet for Europe where giant US companies are to take control over more or less "independant" medias
Add to that the fact that merging creates inevitably jobs losses and you are almost done ; not only the trend is to build up new monopolies but as the banks in US have already proved ,"too big to fail" will become the moto in case of ........ Financial problems which are to be expected ; the taxpayers wil then of course have to pay the bill ; some years earlier , one liked to say " small is beautifull"; the rule has changed ; we are driving to a major catastrophe; thanks for reporting; as one contributor says : to spred the word around the world is of definite and utmost importance OLIVIER GEBUHRER
Time Warner is increasing my internet bill by 15.25% beginning next month. I wonder how that is saving me money?:confused:
Time Warner is increasing our cable bill as well... by about $10 a month I think it was. All because they could not tell some of these networks NO when they held out for more money.
Thank you Woody for a great piece--let's have more! I've been with Time Warner for umpteen years and waffle from hot to cold with their service or lack of service (sort of like the faucets in my bathroom sink--hot/cold;=). TW's reliability in delivery is grossly undependable and, of course, they never offer to give me credit for the time when I can't gain access because of their "technical problems" sometimes for several days. I have to recycle my cable box far too often--why should I need to do this at all? Further frustrations include their frequency in changing channel numbers and offerings for TV. I have eliminated several of TW's packages (including HBO) and don't miss them one bit. My Internet service has been moderately reliable although slow, but I have to admit that I have appreciated their phone cable service with unlimited long distance calls. I have to admit that I don't fully understand this Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, but please keep us informed. Fortunately, I live in the "land of Google super fast fiber service" which seems to be expanding rapidly in the Kansas City area. However, I don't know how this is going to affect my TV and phone service. Actually, I'm finished with TV for the season since all of my favorite "big" basketball teams have been eliminated--one of my major objections to the way the NCAA runs the tournament. Oh well so much for TV, nothing much worthwhile there anyway except sports, but I am concerned about the future of Internet access and cable phone service. Please keep us informed. Thanks.
It may interest everyone to know that Woody Leonhard lives in Thailand, not the US.
I have Cox, not Time Warner nor Comcast. So far, my internet service is excellent.
Surprise! After 13 years in Phuket, I moved to the Nashville area in January.... Man, it's COLD out here...:cool:
Originally Posted by mrjimphelps
Welcome home, Woody!
Originally Posted by Woody
IMHO, this is just another example of the move toward the one entity I grew up thinking was illegal in this country: The Monopoly. But that's just my opinion.
In reality, though, it's leaving consumers with fewer and fewer choices. We live in an old suburb of Buffalo, NY. We have our choice between two providers: Time Warner or
Verizon. It's really not a choice. DSL's unreliable service and Verizon's complete lack of competent, much less English-speaking, support render that option a non-choice. Because this is an old neighborhood FiOS is not an option. Period.
As of this moment, Time Warner is decent. If we are capped, we haven't yet hit it. I'm guessing all bets are off if this merger goes through.
Years ago when I lived down south, I had DirecTV's DirecPC satellite Internet service. It was every bit as fast as the 15 Mb Roadrunner service we have now and equally reliable in all weather short of actual tornado warnings. For me, however, now that I'm 100% disabled even if the service is still available, it's too cost prohibitive.
Consumers are running out of choices and those choices are disappearing by design. The bottom line is that the bottom line is slowly devouring all semblance of choice for the consumer. Profit is the sole motivator and the best way to increase profit is to eliminate services & competition. TWC & Comcast may not be direct competitors per se, but it's still a means to an end: Complete control of an industry.
molly_dog, you are right on target, let's hear more from you as you seem to have excellent perspectives on this situation. I love to watch sports on TV, and appreciate cable phone and Internet from Time Warner. However they keep changing options to the point that I can hardly keep up with their continual variations and price fluctuations (certainly not the TV channel number changes;-). I recently quit HBO and a couple of other choices (don't miss a thing) and, when approaching TW, they seem more than willing to cooperate like a panting dog wanting affection. This obviously is because they are rapidly losing customers and are doing everything possible to keep their business afloat. Then, I wonder, what will happen to their business should Charter Communications, rebuffed last year, when it proposed a merger with Time Warner Cable, then lost out to Comcast, should reenter the picture. With direct TV entering the competition, I'm convinced that this entire media scene is due for a vast overhaul. Note: Has anyone ever been credited or reimbursed from Time Warner when their service is disrupted for a day or several days? Nope, I pay my bills on time and never receive any interest in or offer for compensating their customers. Let's hear more!
Amazingly, since we dumped Verizon in '07, we have not had a single service interruption with Time Warner other than those related to power outages. However, I lived in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas for about 10 years & because of the extreme heat and low humidity, static electricity kept TWC down almost as much as it was up.
Originally Posted by bluebird2
There seemingly was no established policy about credit for service interruption (if you had time to call and possessed the patience of Job to wait to speak to someone). It was absolutely like Forrest Gump's immortal analogy for life--you never knew what you were going to get. If you got a moderately empathetic rep, you could get a credit, but that was always a BIG "if". Most of the time you got a wannabe lawyer type that would argue you into submission or put you on hold indefinitely when you asked for a supervisor.
I enjoy listening to Susan Crawford about the internet in the US.
Full Show: Is Net Neutrality Dead?
May 2, 2014
but wait there is more...
Although there had been some merger talks between DirectTV and DishNetwork in the past 3 months; on Thursday AT&T announced an offer of $40Billion USD for DirectTV.
It used to be that AT&T was in cahoots with DishNetwork and we used to get special package deals and a single bill for both.
Then, AT&T split up from that bundle-tie with DishNetwork and introduced U-Verse TV.
Consumer Reports is showing many irate customers with the U-Verse TV service.
Now I find out that AT&T is currently offering DIRECTV Satellite TV Bundles
Of course, the smart consumer already knows about "Aereo App Battles TV Networks in Supreme Court"
All these fights for market dominance for our entertainment dollars are making my head hurt.