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Susan P Crawford

Time Warner Cable Sale Will Cost Us All

The big four U.S. cable companies, which control more than 60 percent of the U.S. market, may soon become just three. Charter Communications Inc., now the fourth largest, has since last June been trying to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., the second largest. And it now looks as if the shareholders of TWC, which has been floundering recently, may force the company’s board to sell.

If merger and acquisitions activity in the telecommunications realm had a soundtrack, this moment would be accompanied by the menacing bass rumble of “Jaws.” For if this deal goes through, customers of TWC, Charter and also Comcast Corp. -- as well as all the content companies that want to reach those customers -- will probably see prices rise, with no corresponding improvement in service.