The Internet is full of grumbling this morning over the news that Comcast plans to buy Time Warner Cable—a deal that would combine the the nation's two largest cable providers, both of which are already loathed for their villainously awful customer service, into one big ole' leviathan controlling just less than 30 percent of the pay-television industry.
So you may be wondering, is there any chance the federal government will step in to stop this union?
Any merger this huge is going to earn scrutiny from Washington regulators. And since this deal involves the telecom industry, it will have to make it past two hurdles. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission will need to decide whether the corporate marriage passes muster on antitrust grounds, while the Federal Communications Commission will get to weigh in on whether it's in the "public interest."
Comcast, for its part, argues the deal won't harm consumers because, gigantic as it and Time Warner Cable already are, the two don't actually compete for customers in any local markets, as shown in this handy GIF from Quartz.
That's one reason to believe that antitrust concerns won't scuttle this merger, even though it would further consolidate the cable industry nationally.* As for the "public interest" angle, Comcast has released a fact sheet that more or less says it currently offers better service than Time Warner Cable, such as faster Internet, so its new customers will really be getting an upgrade.