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Watchdogs concerned about impact of Comcast-Time Warner deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Industry watchdogs are concerned that Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable will give the company too much power, and ultimately raise the price of high-speed connections.

But Comcast -- which was already the nation's number-one pay TV and Internet provider, says the purchase will provide faster, more reliable service to more customers, and save money on TV programming costs.

If the $45 billion deal is approved, Comcast will serve some 30 million pay TV customers and 32 million Internet subscribers.

In 2013, Time Warner -- which is a strong cable player in Kentucky -- bought Insight Communications which operated cable service in Lexington.

Craig Aaron, who heads a public-interest group that focuses on the media industry, says cable companies are "the only game in town" in most places, when it comes to getting the fastest-available Internet connections. And he says he wouldn't anticipate prices going down as a result of this deal.

And Bert Foer of the American Antitrust Institute asks, "How much power over content do we want a single company to have?"

Comcast says it will continue to operate under conditions the government imposed when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal -- including a requirement that it provide standalone Internet service without tying it to a pay TV package.

The company's CEO says those conditions will continue "for many years" -- but he won't speculate on just how many.


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