For those who were sorry to see the Open Internet rules struck down, there is much to cheer about here.

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The combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) has lots of pro-competitive upside and few, if any, downsides.

OUR VIEW: View merger with skepticism

Here's why:

  • First, the transaction promises key consumer benefits. By accelerating TWC's transition to all-digital, we will bring its customers faster Internet speeds and greater programming choices, thanks to the 300,000-plus online streaming choices, 50,000 video-on-demand options and super-fast connection speeds already offered by Comcast. We will also expand the availability of Xfinity TV mobile apps and accelerate the deployment of our X1 video platform, cloud-based DVR services and other products.
  • Second, consumers will face no loss of competition or choice in broadband, video or phone service because Comcast and TWC do not compete against each other anywhere.
  • Third, the transaction poses no threat to the "Open Internet." Comcast has been a consistently strong and public supporter of the FCC's Open Internet rules and has lived under them for three years. We haven't had any issues or plausible claim of a violation.

Our view that the rules were appropriate is what led us to agree in the NBC Universal transaction in 2011 to agree to be bound by these rules even if the courts were to strike them down. And now that the courts have, in fact, invalidated the no-blocking and non-discrimination rules, Comcast is the only broadband Internet provider still governed by them.

For those who were sorry to see the Open Internet rules struck down, there is much to cheer about here: As a result of the TWC combination, these rules will now be extended to TWC systems while the FCC decides how to proceed on any future Open Internet rules.

This commitment to extend these rules to TWC systems is important because it ensures that the FCC has sufficient runway to establish (and perhaps defend) any new rules it fashions, without having to worry about any blocking or unreasonable discrimination by Comcast or TWC in the meantime. So this transaction can only be seen as a net plus for Open Internet advocates.

This transaction is pro-Open Internet, pro-consumer, pro-competition and strongly in the public interest.

David L. Cohen is executive vice president of Comcast.

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