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Wheelings & Dealings: Comcast's Takeover of Time Warner Provides New York with a High Speed Opportunity

February 18, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Comcast's Takeover of Time Warner Provides New York with a High Speed Opportunity

By Oliver VanDervoort
Contributing Writer

Comcast’s (News - Alert) buyout of Time Warner has many far-reaching implications. One of the most obvious among the implications in the $45 billion buyout (expected to succeed by almost all accounts) will mean that overnight, Comcast will become the top cable provider and ISP in the United States’ largest city. That can be either a good thing or a bad thing for the residents of NYC.

The changeover can and should be handled a number of different ways by the city’s administrators. As the New York Daily News points out, this could be an opportunity for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to push Comcast when it comes to Internet speeds. The city of New York is not only one of the most populous cities in the world, but it is also falling behind other metropolitan centers when it comes to broadband speeds. Google (News - Alert) Fiber might be willing to roll out its products in Kansas but it doesn’t have any plans to set foot in the Big Apple (News - Alert) anytime soon.

It’s a sad state of affairs when business leaders are receiving better Internet speeds in Provo, Utah than they are in Manhattan. The paper points out that New York needs rewiring with dark fiber in order to compete with other cities in the US and with other countries across the globe.

Now that Comcast is the dominant ISP in the city, there appears to be a moment when leaders from the business community and the municipal government can push to get the tools they need to compete. There is little doubt that business communities in the US are losing out because their Internet speeds simply cannot compete with places like Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong despite paying quite a bit more for their service.

Comcast paid lip service to offering high Internet speeds at lower costs when the takeover of Time Warner (News - Alert) was announced. “The playbook at Comcast . . . is an all-digital network with the fastest broadband, with the fastest in home Wi-Fi, with the most on-demand offerings, and a suite of capabilities on tablets and smartphones that lets consumers access that content whenever they want,” CEO Brian Roberts said during the announcement.

Now, New York leaders need to hold Roberts to his word.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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