Speaking at an investor conference on Tuesday, Chase Carey, Fox
president and chief operating officer, said the "broadband issue"
will be front and center when U.S. regulators review the tie-up that
merges the No. 1 and No. 2 cable operators.
Asked about concerns over the merger, Carey said, "Probably the
issue that will come out of it, and that will ultimately get focused
on, is really the broadband issue. Is there choice in broadband? Are
you really headed toward every home having simply one broadband
provider, and what are the implications of that?"
If its bid for Time Warner Cable is approved, Comcast would be the
Internet provider to about 40 percent of U.S. households paying for
high-speed Internet access, analysts estimate.
As TV service becomes more personalized with new navigation tools
and targeted advertising, broadband infrastructure, and who controls
that service, will become even more critical, Carey said. There has
not been any pushback so far from companies against the deal, he
"We haven't seen any filings yet and how does that get addressed? I
assume there will be aspects of that that are addressed," he said.
"Potentially, you may have for most of the country, simply one wired
broadband pipe and again that's the piece that will get, at the end
of the day, most focused on," he said.
Comcast did not respond to a request for comment.
Also at the same conference, Time Warner Inc Chief Executive Jeff
Bewkes predicted a government role in bolstering post-merger
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"In the longer run there are some questions on competition that any
deal like this will look at, the government will look at and make
sure the appropriate conditions are in place to optimize
competition," Bewkes said.
DirecTV's CEO Mike White, who was already called for regulatory
scrutiny of the deal, said on Tuesday, that the government will
likely focus on "all the aspects of Internet, from net neutrality to
you name it."
He also said the government should consider whether Comcast is a
national business instead of a local one which "requires the
government to take a different perspective."
Once Comcast files its merger documents with regulators, the Justice
Department and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will both
take months to review the merger's impact on competition, focusing
on antitrust and public interest concerns respectively.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; editing by
Nick Zieminski and Cynthia Osterman)
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