August 25, 2014

Remarks to the FCC on the proposed Comcast / Time Warner Cable Merger

These are the remarks I made to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (FCC docket 14-57), posted on August 25, 2014. Note: The proposed merger received more than a million comments from the public, and was ultimately rejected by the government.

My name is Mitchell Szczepanczyk; I live in Chicago and have been a Comcast customer for more than ten years. I object to the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) for the following reasons:

(1) Comcast and TWC ostensibly don't compete against one another on a local level, which is supposed to make this proposed merger innocuous and "safe". But a case to the contrary can easily be made. Just because Comcast and TWC don't have their local cable markets overlap is no reason that the two companies don't compete against each other in other ways -- for spectrum, for political attention, for sports contracts. A merger will increase Comcast’s leverage in these and other spheres by digesting their second-biggest cable TV rival.

(2) Comcast's atrocious customer service record is bound to plummet even further. As and others have documented, and as I have experienced myself first-hand, Comcast is synonymous with poor front-line customer support and staff training. A big reason is that Comcast – far from being a monolithic company – is parceled out into many smaller corporate fiefdoms, each with their own internal policies and offerings, making an aggregate result that is the corporate equivalent of schizophrenia. Adding in a massive injection of more customers and more fiefdoms by merging with Time Warner Cable is bound to compound these internal factors, likely to result in even worse customer service.

(3) The merger is bound to decrease the future likelihood of a neutral internet (non discrimination of internet content). The merger would increase Comcast's size and influence in political influence, and thus help sculpt policies beneficial to Comcast but inimical to America – like the effective abolition of net neutrality on which the internet was built. Comcast and Time Warner Cable may well agree on many policies, but they certainly can (and probably do) disagree on all policy issues. If they merge, they obviously will speak under a single voice – that of Comcast's -- and the policy potential and dialogue will be all the poorer.

For these reasons, I urge the FCC to reject this proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Thank you.


Mitchell Szczepanczyk

Chicago, IL