Cohen: Broadband Competition Not Affected By TWC Deal

Comcast EVP David Cohen Friday answered critics suggesting the FCC's focus on broadband speed and competition added fuel to their arguments against the proposed Time Warner cable deal.

In a blog posting, Cohen referenced FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's speech this week, in which he signaled that speed was an inextricable element of the definition of advanced telecommunications deployment and competitive high-speed broadband the FCC's North Star.

Cohen said the deal would do nothing to reduce that competition.

"Much of the reporting since the Chairman’s remarks has linked his comments to our proposed transaction with Time Warner Cable. The facts are simple. Our transaction will have no negative impact on the competitiveness of the broadband consumer market," Cohen wrote, echoing a point he has made in Hill hearings on the deal and the public interest statement filed with the FCC.

"To be clear, whether you are satisfied with the robust state of broadband competition today or deeply troubled by an absence of broadband competition, our transaction will simply not have a negative impact on the current competitive state of the broadband market in America today. In fact, the increased scale created by this transaction will accelerate and encourage even more investments in R&D, innovation, and infrastructure – all of which will be good for broadband investment and competition, and ultimately benefits consumers."

Wheeler said in his speech that mobile broadband is not yet a competitive substitute for wired, but Cohen took issue with that, suggesting it was more nuanced.

"We are seeing wireless 4G technology deliver speeds well over 50 Mbps and averaging in the double digits," he said. "Such broadband access may not be fully competitive with the fastest speeds that wireline broadband are capable of delivering today [100 Mbps to 85% of potential subs by some estimates], but the technology is a viable substitute for many uses of the Internet today and will indisputably provide even more competition in the future."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.