Editor's note: The FCC approval of Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, announced today, makes Charter the nation’s 2nd-largest cable operator behind Comcast. The deal's final hurdle is an expected approval, next week, by the California Public Utilities Commission. - Tom
Comcast Corporation, formerly registered as Comcast Holdings, is an American global mass media conglomerate and is the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue. It is the second-largest pay-TV company after the AT&T-DirecTV acquisition, largest cable TV company and largest home Internet service provider in the United States, and the nation's third-largest home telephone service provider. Comcast services U.S. residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company's headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As the owner of the international media company NBCUniversal since 2011, Comcast is a producer of feature films and television programs intended for theatrical exhibition and over-the-air and cable television broadcast.
Comcast operates multiple cable-only channels (including E! Entertainment Television, the Golf Channel, and NBCSN), over-the-air national broadcast network channels (NBC and Telemundo), the film production studio Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks & Resorts in Los Angeles and Orlando. The first Universal park outside of the US, Universal Studio Japan, opened in 2001 and Universal Studio Singapore in 2011. Few new locations are planned and being developed for future operation. Comcast also has significant holding in digital distribution (thePlatform). In February 2014 the company agreed to merge with Time Warner Cable in an equity swap deal worth $45.2 billion. Under the terms of the agreement Comcast was to acquire 100% of Time Warner Cable. However, on April 24, 2015, Comcast terminated the agreement.
Comcast has been criticized for multiple reasons. The company's customer satisfaction often ranks among the lowest in the cable industry. Comcast has violated net neutrality practices in the past; and, despite Comcast's commitment to a narrow definition of net neutrality, critics advocate a definition of which precludes distinction between Comcast's private network services and the rest of the Internet. Critics also point out a lack of competition in the vast majority of Comcast's service area; there is limited competition among cable providers. Given Comcast's negotiating power as a large ISP, some suspect that Comcast could leverage paid peering agreements to unfairly influence end-user connection speeds. Its ownership of both content production (in NBCUniversal) and content distribution (as an ISP) has raised antitrust concerns. These issues, in addition to others, led to Comcast being dubbed "The Worst Company in America" by The Consumerist in 2010 and 2014. Also, despite being publicly-traded, Comcast is a family-owned business, with the Roberts family owning a controlling stake and multiple generations serving as company executives