In February Comcast officially announced its intentions to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion – something that had been rumored for quite a while, and something that consumers had feared. Primarily, we’re all worried that it’s going to create a giant controlling cable monopoly, controlling all means of communication, including cable and Internet services. In a monopoly scenario, Comcast could potentially charge whatever it wants. The Justice Department is already going to investigate those fears – that’s its job for any major merger – but now some U.S. states are joining in.
According to a report from Reuters on Wednesday, Florida has teamed up with other unnamed states that will determine how the deal will affect residents. “We are part of a multi-state group reviewing the proposed transaction along with the U.S. DOJ Antitrust Division,” Florida’s attorney general said in a message obtained by Reuters.
Indiana and Pennsylvania have both confirmed investigations, though Pennsylvania said it’s doing so solo while Indiana only said it’s examining how such a merger will affect Indiana residents – the state did not say whether or not it was part of Florida’s team. Reuters said Florida and its multi-state investigation team are more concerned on the impact on broadband Internet access, as opposed to cable.
As Reuters explains, the states alone probably won’t be able to block the merger, but they can provide additional data to the Justice Department and to the Federal Communications Commission, both of which need to greenlight the deal before it’s official. Typically, it’s best for everyone with more competitors in the market. That way companies fight price wars, driving down costs, and add additional features to keep customers.