If all goes as Comcast and Time Warner Cable hope, though, some sources see some positive outcomes. For Miehl, the merger could increase organizations' proclivity toward using cable network services, since Comcast would boast territory throughout the country – a feat never before achieved by an MSO in the United States. For Mercer, the implication of that expanded territory comes down to revenue: "It will increase due to more multisite sales," he said, since a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable would be able to serve so many more businesses.
On a similar note, Gary Jacobs, vice president of channel sales for Bridgepointe Technologies, agreed that the pairing is a coup for multilocation customers and, thus, the channel.
"If I had any concerns, it would be more related to the possible decline in the level of customer service, price competition, or product innovation that could occur when a company owns the majority of the market," Jacobs said. "However, I’ll remain optimistic that those things wouldn’t occur."
Shane Stark, general manager and director of IT at Carrier Access Inc., said if Comcast and TWC remain channel-friendly, their pairing "is a good thing." It will mean managing fewer providers for compensation and provisioning, and, with any luck, it will "lead to more consistency in the overall process," he said.
The Agent Alliance, a consortium of partners, also is hopeful.
"Comcast has a robust, channel-friendly program," said Agent Alliance CEO Bill Power. "The increased footprint of a consolidated TWC and Comcast network will be a huge development for the channel and customers. And hopefully other, less channel-friendly providers will feel the heat from these partner-based companies. We’re cautiously optimistic that the merger won’t dilute their commitment to the channel."
To be sure, Comcast and Time Warner Cable will have their work cut out to convince other partners that the union will benefit the channel.