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Comcast's Brian Roberts Defends His Time Warner Deal, and His Company

America's biggest cable company wants to get bigger, and its CEO says that's a good thing.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The New York Times thinks Comcast shouldn’t be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. Guess what Comcast CEO Brian Roberts thinks?

Okay, you don’t have to guess. But Roberts made his case for the merger, and his company in general, to the crowd at the Code Conference this morning, anyway: He said that even after the deal gets done, and Comcast owns 30 percent of the pay-TV market and 40 percent of the broadband market, customers will have plenty of choices.

(Here we should note that Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is a minority investor in Revere Digital, the parent company of Re/code.)

Roberts also said he’s just fine with the notion of some kind of net neutrality law, noting again the company is still operating under “Open Internet” rules that a federal court has thrown out. But Roberts, like all other broadband operators, says his pipes shouldn’t be regulated like a public utility the way that telephone networks are: “I don’t think phone regulation ever resulted in a great phone system.”

In less than a day, Code attendees will also hear from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who is both a partner with Comcast and a critic of the company. So Roberts tried to head off criticism from Hastings, who is paying Roberts to speed Netflix’s video over Comcast’s pipes, but doesn’t want to.

Roberts says he’s sympathetic to that argument, but won’t be swayed by it: “They would like it all to be free. I don’t blame them for that. I would like to not pay for cable boxes.”

This article originally appeared on

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