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If Comcast buys Verizon, we should all give up and go home

Comcast Verizon merger

The market for home internet in the US is already absurdly non-competitive. Barely 80 percent of Americans have a choice of providers for high-speed internet at home, a figure that means that you’re likely living in a regional internet monopoly.

But hey, maybe you should count yourself lucky. An industry analyst, Jason Bazinet from Citigroup, has penned an opinion saying that Comcast should pull a blockbuster deal and buy Verizon for around $215 billion.

A deal like that would probably make a huge amount of money for both companies. Comcast would finally have access to a wireless network (the nation’s biggest, for that matter!), and it could fulfill the capitalist dream of tying customers into wireless, internet, and cable services.

There are other economies of scale for a hypothetical Vericast: both Comcast and Verizon need to work out ways to build out high-speed gigabit connections to households in the next decade, and combining forces would make things much cheaper; Comcast recently bought spectrum licenses in the new 600MHz band, which Verizon could use to build out its network further; and possibly most tellingly, tax incentives and regulatory loosening by the Trump administration and the new-look FCC — run by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai! — would make a mammoth merger possible.

But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Vericast/Satan’s ISP would be comfortably the largest ISP in the US, with the power and scale to take on smaller ISP monopolies like Spectrum or CenturyLink. Tiny local internet providers wouldn’t stand a chance.

In any normal world, a government would stand in the way of a total takeover of a precious national resource by the country’s most-hated brand. But right now, it’s possible — and the potential profits has Wall Street visibly salivating.