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Internet Access Remains A Sideshow For Carriers

For the last year, as the Comcast (CMCSA) (CMCSK) merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) has moved through Washington, the debate has centered on what this might mean for the Internet.

The answer turns out to be, very little. Because for carriers, and all the major last-mile Internet Service Providers today are either phone or cable carriers, Internet access is a sideshow. It's ancillary revenue. It's not what the business is about. You don't buy Comcast because you want 40% of the Internet access market. You buy it because you want its leverage over TV programmers.

A quick look at your own bill will explain all this. Whether you're using Comcast or a phone company service such as AT&T (T) U-Verse, most of what you pay for is TV. In the case of Comcast, it's a ratio of about 3-1, TV to Internet. When a company like Comcast looks… Read More …