Earthlink Pushes Case for Wholesaling Condition on Comcast/NBCU

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Competing ISP and deal critic Earthlink has told the Federal Communications Commission that if it approves the Comcast/NBCU deal, the price of standalone broadband will go up to the detriment of Comcast customers.

It made that argument in a filing at the commission that was also promoted on PRNewswire.

In the filing, Earthlink, which earlier asked that Comcast be required to offer net access wholesale to competing ISPs, provided an economic model for earlier assertions. It said it was providing more details of how the merger would increase Comcast's incentive to raise the price of stand-alone service after that assertion was challenged by the company.

The addendum introduced last week by Earthlink provides pages of equations demostrating how the profit on bundled services exceeds stand-alone products.

That is all by way of arguing that putting a wholesale condition on the deal would mitigate that because it would "let consumers ‘break the bundle,' promote competition and discipline Comcast's pricing, and protect the development of the nascent online video market."

"Earthlink's economics are simply off base," said Comcast in a statement. "Opponents of the Comcast NBCU transaction like Earthlink are rereleasing and rehashing the same discredited arguments they made months and months ago. We have fully addressed these arguments in the FCC record and shown conclusively their analysis is flawed and incorrect."

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