SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 25, 2014

A look at what others are saying

(Continued)

We certainly did.

We are not ready to call for a halt to the deal under federal antitrust laws, but we certainly hope federal regulators turn a skeptical eye toward merger plans.

For many of those served by Comcast, tenancy as a customer often feels like imprisonment.

Here in New Hampshire, there are few options to avoid Comcast’s rate increases. And it is useless trying to argue. There is always an excuse, never mind that Comcast’s existing economy of scale should be driving rates down, not up.

And we are not alone in our discontent.

As one critic of the merger wrote at theatlantic.com: “The Internet is full of grumbling this morning over the news that Comcast plans to buy Time Warner Cable — a deal that would combine the nation’s two largest cable providers, both of which are already loathed for their villainously awful customer service, into one big ole’ leviathan controlling just less than 30 percent of the pay-television industry.”

But all is not bad with Comcast. Its technology, if not state of the art in every corner of the cable world, is generally better than the alternatives and more efficient.

This is especially the case here in New Hampshire, since Verizon sold out to Fairpoint and decided to develop a fiber-optic network elsewhere.

This left Comcast’s Granite State customers with few options other than to slice and dice services — satellite for television, ditching phone service tethered to the wall or a modem, and settling for slower Internet speeds with Fairpoint or, heaven forbid, with dial-up.

This is not to say a larger more powerful Comcast would automatically be a bad thing.

As was pointed out by a Feb. 14 series of articles in The Wall Street Journal, there are some potential advantages.

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