Last week, we noted how Verizon was doing their best to convince New Jersey officials that their LTE service was just as good as broadband internet speeds on a fixed-line. Verizon was doing this because they wanted to get out of their contractual agreement with New Jersey to wire the entire state with broadband speeds of at least 45 Mbps. Even though New Jersey taxpayers have handed Verizon over $13 billion to wire the state, Verizon felt it wasn’t in their best financial position to honor their contract and instead decided to pass off their incredibly expensive, low data-capped wireless plans as an acceptable substitute.
Now, Comcast and Time Warner Cable want everyone to know that because LTE service exists in this country, the two companies should be allowed to merge due to the competition against those wireless providers. As the Huffington Post stated, “Time Warner Cable Makes Hilariously Absurd Argument For Comcast Merger.”
If allowed to merge, Comcast would therefore controls nearly 40 percent of the U.S. broadband market and provide cable to almost a third of American homes. But of course, Comcast and Time Warner Cable say that this is not anti-competitive and is in the public interest. Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus One listed so-called competitors of Comcast and Time Warner Cable and put mobile networks high on the list:
“I would also note that mobile wireless is rapidly becoming a viable alternative to cable broadband given the ever-increasing capabilities of LTE as well as continued advances in compression technology,” Marcus said in a testimony in front of lawmakers on Thursday.
The notion that someone could use a wireless data plan as a replacement for a fixed-line broadband connection is laughable and completely unrealistic.
If a consumer wants to use a satellite internet service, they should prepare themselves for terribly-reviewed, slow and unreliable service that at its best will give connection speeds of up to 15-20 Mbps with small data caps. In many instances the new 10-15 Mbps plans are failing to deliver even 2 Mbps for many with some seeing dial-up speeds.
A study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies reiterates that wireless is simply no substitute for fixed line service. The study found that 7% of Americans are “smartphone only” but 83% of smartphone owners have broadband at home.
As the Huffington Post notes:
“But let’s say you want to ditch your broadband provider and use a 4G hotspot to stream Netflix. The biggest wireless data plan you can get from AT&T is 50 gigabytes per month — enough to watch about 16 hours of Netflix in HD. That’s not much, considering the average U.S. household that’s connected to the Internet uses 102 gigabytes per month, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. And that small data plan — which includes unlimited texting and voice calling — is going to cost you a whopping $375 per month. And if you’re one of the lucky ones with unlimited data? Sorry, but once you reach about 5 GB — roughly two hours of streaming Netflix in HD — some carriers slow your data.”
If the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is approved, Comcast will be the only option for high-speed Internet for 37 percent of US homes.