October 21, 2014
9:34 pm

No Cable Conversion for You

No need to wonder or fret about whether you'll be dealing with a new cable TV company when the Comcast-Time Warner merger deal shakes out. Comcast company officials told my colleagues in the WSJM Newsroom today that Berrien and Cass Counties will be the only two counties in the entire state to remain in the Comcast Cable spectrum because we are "considered part of the company's Chicago region."  

My colleagues spoke with Comcast's Jack Segal today and he says not only will Berrien and Cass remain in the Chicago stable, so will viewers in the South Bend, Indiana market.  

In order to make the proposed merger between the two cable giants more palatable with government regulators, Comcast revealed a divestiture plan over the weekend to strip about 1.4-million current subscribers from Time Warner Cable and deliver them to Charter Communications, while another 1.6-million existing Time Warner customers and 1.6-million Charter customers swap places in a "tax-efficient like kind" exchange. Then the new Charter would take on about 33% of a new Comcast-created spin-off company with another 2.5-million current customers of Comcast. That publicly traded company would be the new cable TV and Internet provider to virtually the rest of Michigan beyond our corner of the state. 

Naturally, all of the various proposed transactions and customer swaps are subject to federal approval of the merger itself between Comcast and Time Warner. If and when it all shakes out according to the proposed plan, Comcast-Time Warner Cable would be the largest cable operator in the nation with roughly 30-million customers and Charter Communications would vault into second place as the second-largest cable company in America.

While the Justice Department appears to be favorable to the transaction and merger, not everyone is for it. Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota recently wrote, "I am deeply concerned that Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable would give Comcast both the power and the incentive to act as a gatekeeper on the Internet, raising costs and limiting choices for consumers."

Stay tuned as the regulatory issues iron themselves out, with Congressman Fred Upton likely playing a major role as head of the committee that will oversee the situation.
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Location : BerrienCassChicagoIndianaMichiganMinnesota
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