I think the government should approve this merger, but with specific conditions.
To go all Buzzfeed on this, here’s a list of the wishful thinking conditions I think the government should impose.
1. New Comcast has to be a ‘common carrier‘. This would make them subject to much more regulatory oversight, especially with regards to pricing, than before.
2. New Comcast, as one of the nation’s largest internet service providers, has to accept Net Neutrality, and both present a plan per the above common carrier oversight to implement it, and agree to not oppose any legislation implementing true Net Neutrality.
4. New Comcast has to agree to support and implement new open standards to improve security to deal with the above.
5. New Comcast has to divest itself of its content creation business (i.e., NBC and all of its cable channels).
6. New Comcast has to allow any channel that has a large enough potential viewership to be listed in its lineup, and they have the right to choose which tier they join (the Al-Jazeera America clause).
7. New Comcast has to provide channels on an a la carte basis at a reasonable price.
8. New Comcast has to provide capability to migrate, backup, and use recorded programming for any purpose covered under fair use — watermarking content with subscriber ID information, etc, to track down illegal distributors is acceptable.
9. New Comcast has to provide full HD-quality (where available) affiliate broadcasting and public access to any household with a cable hookup for no charge (as long as they have a digital-ready TV set), and they have to provide DVRs for said customers for the same price they charge digital cable customers.
10. New Comcast has to agree to work toward an open standard for cable boxes that can push standard television programming along with over the internet content and other added features (the Apple TV clause).
…and no toothless consent decrees here. I want all the executive-level people signed on to this decree, and facing perjury charges and jail time if they violate it.
Do you have any others to add?