Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner could effect broadband customers

Most big Silicon Valley companies remained mum after the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal was announced, despite the fact that many of them rely on cable companies and others to deliver broadband service to homes. But some venture capitalists and other high-tech executives weighed in. Some of them fretted about the possibility that a bulked-up Comcast could gain additional leverage it could use to hobble competing digital video services or other websites.

Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable is partly a grab for negotiating power in the fast-changing video content business, but it might affect broadband users, too. The US$45.2 billion offer comes as cable TV operators face a growing number of new channels for the kinds of content they used to deliver almost exclusively. Online video providers such as Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Hulu (part-owned by Comcast’s parent company) now offer alternatives to cable that can travel over any reasonably strong Internet connection, and the makers of video content look to them as alternatives to cable operators. If Comcast boasts more customers, it may be able to get better deals.

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