Comcast Apparently Hopes No One Actually Looks At Its Ridiculously Misleading Claims Of Broadband Competition
from the where-are-those-29-competitors dept
Comcast is ratcheting up its charm offensive (or perhaps that’s just offensive charm) in trying to get its attempted merger with Time Warner Cable approved. It’s released its “public interest statement” and a blog post about how wonderful the merger will be. There are plenty of ridiculous claims in both, but let’s focus on the key one — Comcast’s decision to completely fabricate “competitors” in various markets to argue that Comcast competes “in a dynamic, expanding and highly competitive marketplace.” Of course, for anyone who actually knows what broadband options they have at home are, this statement is clearly bullshit. But Comcast is going to pretend otherwise, because it’s Comcast. This chart really takes the cake:
In the past, we’ve reasonably mocked the FCC’s website listing broadband competitors, BroadbandMap.gov, because the results it gives are hilariously wrong and/or misleading. But Comcast’s competitive claims take this to a new level entirely. Even if we rely on the National Broadband Map, I challenge anyone to find any spot in New York City where someone has anywhere close to 29 choices for actual broadband. Just for fun, I put in an address in the heart of midtown Manhattan, and it coughed up a (laughably misleading) claim of seven competitors. Except three of them (AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) are just 3G/4G service over your phones with very low caps and limited speed. Those accounts are explicit that they’re not to be used for regular home broadband. So they don’t count. You have, of course, the traditional competitors: Time Warner Cable (who Comcast is trying to take over) and Verizon.
And who else? There’s just Lightower Fiber Networks and Platinum Equity LLC. Platinum Equity is the private equity firm that bought out MegaPath, a DSL company that has been around (in various forms) for many years, but is only focused on business broadband. Ditto for Lightower Fiber, which only serves businesses. So, oh look, if you want true residential broadband, guess what: your choice is Time Warner Cable or Verizon. And, remember, Verizon is actively trying to get out of the wired broadband market, handing its users over to… their main cable competitors. So, it might not be left until your only real “choice” in the heart of midtown Manhattan is… Time Warner… I mean, Comcast.
So, um, what’s that about 29 competitors?