As US President Barack Obama showed his support for tougher regulations on Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission might have to block the Comcast-Time Warner deal. However, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts stated that the deal is “full steam ahead” with the company’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
In February, Comcast outbid Charter Communications announced that it would be acquiring Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion. Roberts mentioned that the company planned to invest $20 billion in internet services as a part of efforts to complete the deal. Obama’s push on “net neutrality” has now forced the FCC to reconsider whether to approve the deal or not. The FCC might also impose conditions like asset sales or requiring the company to share its broadband.
“We are trying to work with the FCC, with the congress, with the administration to forge an outcome,” said Roberts.
The concept of “Net Neutrality” gained attention after the federal court rejected the guidelines for internet to be provided equally and the trade panel examined the regulations for a year. This raised concerns about the creation of tw0-tiered internet lanes. Though major ISP’s like Comcast,AT&T and other providers assured that they would not create special toll lanes, Obama went ahead in imposing utility-based regulations that were framed 80 years ago that disapproved carriers of controlling users’ calls.
However, carriers argue that the regulations will affect the economy and result in less incentives to make upgrades and create faster networks. The carriers added the it will also affect innovation. Philadelphia-based Comcast expects to end the Time Warner deal by March end, despite speculations that the deal might have difficulty in gaining regulatory approval. The deal might be allowed by imposing certain conditions or will be blocked. If the deal goes smoothly, Comcast will have more than 32 million internet subscribers.
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