NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) is determined to become a new kind of monopolist, combining elements of the old AT&T (T - Get Report), Fox (FOX) and Disney (DIS - Get Report) empires.
The AT&T part is simple, and that is nearly in place.
By using its massive lobbying power in Washington -- it has contributed to nearly every senator overseeing its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) -- Comcast first intends to become the dominant Internet pipe in the country.
This opportunity first presented itself almost 20 years ago, through a technology called Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, or DOCSIS. Fiber overlays and fat cables designed for video let cable deliver far more broadband to customers than the phone industry's DSL technology, and that advantage has only grown with time.(VZ) FiOS are more competitive on sheer speed but are still trailing in market share. Combine the subscriber counts of Comcast and Time Warner Cable during the first quarter of last year, and you get nearly as many broadband customers as Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink (CTL), which runs the old US West, combined. Another way of putting that is that Comcast will have more consumers buying its Internet than the entire Bell system. The second leg of the plan, vertical integration, is also in place. (FOXA) was after through the purchase of the BSkyB satellite system in Europe, an effort that was thwarted by scandals at News Corp. (NWS) newspapers. Having divested the newspapers, the company may try again. But they will still be behind. The third leg, the Disney leg, is now beginning to happen. Having gotten the monopoly power of AT&T over broadband, and the monopoly power of Fox through integration, Comcast now wants the power Disney has to deliver complete experiences through a network of theme parks.
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