For the last two days there have been rumors swirling about the possibility of Dish Network and DirecTV attempting a merger. They tried it in 2001 but the FTC wouldn’t approve it. After the recent merger of XM and Sirius, I have to think the FTC has loosened their stance on not allowing large media providers to merge.
I would say the merger would be good, but only if it meant that the new company would focus on providing true competition, and figure out how to become large media providers. They will have to offer something different than just television service. They need to be able to move into the broadband market.
Our choices here are limited to bad, and worse than bad. We have Charter Cable in my local area, which is fast, but with horrible service and lots of outages (every time it storms, just about). I live in a neighborhood where all wiring is underground, and when there is a failure, the cable company simply strings a nice orange data cable from yard to yard until they get around to putting it back underground, which can be months. Last winter during snow removal, one of these orange cables was in the gutter of the street, and the snow plow snapped it in eight places, disconnecting cable to half the neighborhood. Then there’s AT&T, our only source of DSL, which is stable and works well. My fear of AT&T DSL is that they will start capping our bandwidth, which they are already talking about. I have the highest-end DSL, so I would think the cap would be higher because we pay more, but who knows? We don’t have alternatives like FIOS or Clearwire available here.
If the satellite companies could figure out how to deliver true high-speed, economical broadband service to homes, that might be a breakthrough worth cheering. The more competition we can see against behemoths like AT&T, the better it will be for all of us.