After FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was embarrassed by his well-publicized failure to gain greater regulatory control over the cable industry, he had to do something to reassert his authority, and there’s rarely much risk in attacking a corporate giant. So Martin is putting his energy into establishing a subscriber cap for Comcast Corp.
When faced with a weakened opponent, the only thing to do is take the offensive, and yesterday Comcast went on the attack.
Comcast EVP David L. Cohen published a statement that said there is no justification for capping Comcast at a 30 percent market share. Cohen made the point that Verizon and AT&T have grown to enormous size without any objection from the FCC.
“It is unthinkable,” Cohen wrote, “that the government would constrain the ability of cable companies like Comcast to compete with these colossal companies that have virtually unlimited financial resources. In fact, AT&T alone has a market capitalization of $231 billion – larger than the entire cable industry combined.”
Comcast needs to attract more than three million additional subscribers to near a 30 percent market share. Like many other MSOs, however, Comcast is actually losing basic cable subscribers. That would seem to make Martin’s proposed subscriber cap completely moot, but a cap would constrain Comcast should it want to grow by acquiring another pay-TV provider.