First-place cable douchebag Comcast is buying second-place scrawny little brother Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. Because Internet. No, seriously.
Customers have been exchanging their cable subscriptions for cheaper ways to binge-watch Sherlock on services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Roku (both Comcast and TWC’s video subscriptions have fallen in the past quarter while broadband subscriptions have risen). Comcast’s On Demand service can’t keep up—it still won’t let you fast-forward through the commercials, and therefore makes viewers feel like they are living among dinosaurs. So what’s a poor cable conglomerate to do? Acquire a whole bunch more of these increasingly annoyed customers? Yup.
The plus side is that nobody’s going to have fewer choices when it comes to their cable providers if the deal passes federal review, which it probably will. This is because nobody had a choice to begin with. Comcast and TWC never operated in any of the same zip codes. But here are some things that actually might affect your already-shitty experience with cable and Internet:
The Netflix Loading Circle Will Forever Be Stuck at 2% and Haunt Your Dreams
No longer will the biggest threat to your ability to gape open-mouthed at Scandal be your roommate’s porn addiction. Comcast is 14th among the top 17 cable providers on Netflix’s monthly ISP speed index (TWC is sixth), and has a history of giving preferential treatment to its own video apps. (This, even though Comcast promised to self-impose net neutrality until at least 2018.)
More NBC, Less of Everything Else, Potentially
Now that there might be a cable provider that has nearly 30% of the U.S. market share (which also happens to own NBCUniversal), other television networks will be either forced to bow down to the almighty altar of Comcast or get dropped from its service, which is what happened last August when TWC and CBS couldn’t reach an agreement and for one whole month, NYC viewers were denied reruns of The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls. It was a dark time. The more leverage Comcast has, the more difficult it will be to reach agreements that benefit customers rather than the cable provider.
Data Caps, AKA Death Traps
TWC customers may have to deal with the world’s shittiest service for any product ever, but one thing we haven’t had to worry about until now are data caps, which, in ComcastLand means that if you exceed a certain amount of data per month, you will receive a pleasant notice informing you that Comcast would like some more of your money, please. Fun!
It Will Be More Expensive. Obviously.
Because how could it not? Monthly plans go up all the time anyway. Things only ever get worse. Such is the way of the world.
Now We Can Complain About the Same Things As People In L.A.
Comcast will add service in both New York and Los Angeles, so if there’s a positive to be found in any of this, it’s that now, bicoastal comics don’t have to worry about whether or not their Time Warner Cable joke will work on audiences in L.A.