Acquisitions / Politics / Roundups

Comcast plans to divest 3.9M subscribers in prep for Time Warner Cable merger [Comcast Roundup]

"Comcast announced on Monday a series of subscriber swaps designed to help clear the way for regulatory approval of its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The reorganization of the nation's cable grid will give Comcast a stronghold in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Boston."

  • Comcast aims for 8 million WiFi hotspots [Philadelphia Inquirer] “That would be eight times the one million hotspots the cable giant had deployed in early April in 39 states and Washington, D.C. Comcast’s “Xfinity WiFi Initiative” utilizes free wireless spectrum and wireless radios or gateways in outdoor areas such as parks and train platforms, restaurants, stores and doctors’ offices, and homes.”
  • Comcast And Time Warner Cable To Divest 3.9 Million Subscribers Through Charter Deal [TechCrunch]
  • Comcast, Charter To Divvy Up Nation’s Cable Subs [Associated Press] “Comcast announced on Monday a series of subscriber swaps designed to help clear the way for regulatory approval of its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The reorganization of the nation’s cable grid will give Comcast a stronghold in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Boston.”
  • Welcome to Comcast Country [New York Times] “Starting in Philadelphia, Comcast built a hometown political machine and turned it into a national juggernaut. In 2013, the company spent $18.8 million on federal lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s more than all but six other corporations. The company is also a major donor, making nearly $5.5 million in federal political contributions during the 2012 cycle.”
  • CAP Comcast Campaign Launches; Pushes for Philadelphia to Negotiate Fair Cable Franchise for Our Communities [Media Mobilizing Project] “‘During the last franchise negotiation, Philadelphia elected officials and appointed leaders secured important resources for our city, including funds for public access television, and about $17 million a year for Philadelphia’s general fund,’ said Bryan Mercer, co-Executive Director at Media Mobilizing Project. ‘But since that time, Philadelphia has shuttered over 20 schools and slashed services that our communities need. Comcast pays less than 4% in corporate tax revenue, in a state where the average is almost 10%. And they’re getting $40 million in subsidies for their new planned building. If Comcast wants a chance to profit from our communities,Philadelphia should ensure Comcast pays their fair share, or invite other communications companies to serve our city.'” The petition has more than 3,500 signatures, said spokeswoman Hannah Sassaman.
  • Comcast Has About 76 Lobbyists Working Washington On The Time Warner Cable Merger. This is Why. [Time] “While some have called it an “army,” Comcast’s lobbying effort is more of a tactical special operations unit. In most cases, lobbyists and firms appear to have been assigned targeted politicians and officials to woo on the merger. In many cases, the lobbyists themselves are former government colleagues of the people they are able to target. And given the sky-high stakes—uniting the top two cable and two of the top three largest internet broadband providers—the company appears to have everyone who matters in Congress covered.”
  • Senator Franken, Comcast’s fiercest critic, tries to lure allies from Silicon Valley [Washington Post] “‘Your organization includes companies from many sectors of our communications and Internet economy, including industry leaders in search, social networking, e-commerce  and music and video content delivery. All of these organizations depend on broadband networks to operate,’ Franken wrote in his letter to CCIA President Ed Black. CCIA’s members include Google, Facebook, eBay, Aereo and Yahoo.”
  • After Comcast, Netflix signs traffic deal with Verizon [The Verge] “Netflix just confirmed that it will pay Verizon for direct access through the carrier’s network, allowing for improved streaming video for customers. According to a brief statement, “We have reached an interconnect arrangement with Verizon that we hope will improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months.” The announcement mirrors a similar peering deal inked earlier this year made by Netflix and Comcast, and likely won’t be the last of its kind.”
Companies: Comcast / Time Warner Cable

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