EarthLink study finds Comcast-NBCU would hike broadband prices

An (obviously unbiased) economic report written for EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK) claims that a Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)-NBC Universal merger would "result in Comcast raising the prices that consumers pay for standalone broadband service," the ISP said in a news release. EarthLink, for those with short memories, is recalled in Comcast's hometown Philadelphia as the muni WiFi provider that couldn't pull it off when it came to town to provide low-cost broadband in competition with the MSO and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

The report, prepared by Simon Wilkie, former FCC chief economist, indicates that "the market for innovative online video services will be stifled and the nation's goals of ubiquitous broadband adoption and usage will be dampened," the news release continues. EarthLink has already petitioned the FCC to require Comcast to offer wholesale standalone broadband access to independent ISPs.

Speaking of the national broadband plan (aka ubiquitous broadband adoption), investors and money managers are taking a wait-and-see attitude about the FCC's remuneration plans for broadcasters being "asked" to relinquish spectrum for wireless services. Of course there's been little or no talk about how much the FCC will pay cable operators to carry the extra channels that broadcasters will throw on their systems when they lose over-the-air capabilities.

"The money guys are universally skeptical about the plan's proposal to induce broadcasters to give up all or some of their spectrum in exchange for a cut of the money when it's eventually auctioned off to wireless broadband operators," a story in TV NewsCheck said.

For more:
- see this news release
- and this story

Related articles:
Where does EarthLink go from here?
EarthLink to Philly: We will pull the plug
It appears everybody doesn't like something about Comcast-NBCU
Broadcasters using mobile DTV as leverage in fight with FCC over spectrum
Broadcasters set conditions for participation in spectrum auctions

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