In the world of pay television, news doesn't get much bigger than the headlines that splashed over newspapers an internet-based media organizations in the heart of February announcing Comcast's $45 big takeover bid of Time Warner Cable, Inc. - Xfinity
The merger, whether it's allowed to go through, would dramatically affect the cable TV business landscape by essentially making Comcast, a mega company because it currently exists, the most important cable television provider in america.
While it's easy to get the fainting vapors, once again, about another potential cable merger squelching competition and limiting consumer cable TV viewing and payment options, there exists a far more ominous specter lurking in the obvious but somewhat ignored information the deal.
Simply stated, wire business models don't have much left when it comes to shelf life. Cable television as being a business is probably financially viable for an additional 10 or 15 years, nevertheless the real future of television lies with high speed.
As broadband Internet television is constantly on the spawn streaming video options like Hulu, Netflix yet others, in conjunction with the expanding realm of handheld WiFi-enabled devices, it's easy to imagine a straight wire completely disappearing since it melds into the exploding whole world of broadband.
And therein lies the ominous specter lurking in the potential Comcast and Time Warner merger. A good, standard quality streaming video typically requires a broadband connection greater than 2Mb/s, while a high definition stream can require 4Mb/s or maybe more. Once you start factoring in top quality audio, plus any concurrent downloads or uploads, you can observe a considerable jump in your broadband requirements.
For Time Warner Cable, such considerable broadband requirements haven't been much of an issue. Like a Time Warner Cable subscriber, you might pretty much binge on as much broadband each month while you wanted. In fact, most Time Warner Cable customers probably weren't even aware there was such a thing as putting a strain on broadband.
On the Comcast side of the coin, however, broadband is a relatively tightly held commodity where customers are regularly capped at the amount broadband they can devour during a month. Granted, Comcast's broadband caps are fairly generous as they apply to casual and even moderate broadband users, however the broadband gluttons (gamers) can and do hit their broadband ceilings. Generally, Comcast doesn't radically enforce its caps, however that can always change. - Xfinity
So, returning to the Comcast and Time Warner merger. Should the merger get the nod of approval in the government, you'll have the bigger company, Comcast, with its broadband caps, buying out Time Warner, having its casual approach to broadband. Therefore, whatever you potentially have on the horizon is a multitude of Time Warner customers that are used to unlimited broadband suddenly being informed that broadband caps now exist. Further, you'll have company that just paid out $45 billion in acquisition costs trying to fill its coffers.
The issue just begging an answer is this - will the merged Comcast and Time Warner venture opt to start clamping down on customers who regularly exceed their monthly broadband allocations? Perhaps there is financial penalties incurred?
The solution is... probably.
Again, we will need to go back to the emerging realities of streaming video. Since the streaming video technologies is growing, evolve and improve, so when more streaming video providers enter in the marketplace, the need for more broadband to allow for ever growing video streams means current broadband caps will likely be surpassed more regularly. The financial impetus to penalize one of the most egregious broadband cap violators will, without doubt become too tantalizing to pass through up.
Of course, it is also entirely possible that advances in broadband technology could push broadband capacity to heights previously considered unattainable. Broadband capacity could outstrip demand, keeping prices stable and pushing broadband caps so high only a select few could always surpass caps. Like all technologies, only time will tell, and possibly not all that much time as well.