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Posted: 7:23 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014

Unclear how Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable will affect Central Texans 

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By Gary Dinges

The ramifications of cable giant Comcast’s potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable remain unclear for Central Texans.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, said Thursday that it had crafted an all-stock deal to acquire Time Warner Cable at a total cost of about $45 billion.

The deal will, according to published reports, lead to Comcast divesting as many as 3 million of the 11 million customers Time Warner Cable currently serves.

Time Warner Cable does not release the numbers of subscribers it has in specific areas, but in Texas, Time Warner is the dominant cable provider in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley. Comcast is the top dog in the Houston area.

Comcast doesn’t currently have in place a deal to carry the Longhorn Network, which the University of Texas and ESPN launched about three years ago as part of a 20-year, $300 million deal. LHN’s studios are in Central Austin, near the UT campus.

Time Warner Cable picked up LHN in August, two years after its debut. The pickup was the largest yet for the growing network.

An ESPN spokeswoman told the American-Statesman on Thursday that it was far too soon to know what, if any, effect the acquisition would have on LHN’s availability in Central Texas.

Other area cable providers that carry LHN include San Marcos-based Grande Communications, as well as AT&T U-verse.

One potential benefit to local Time Warner Cable customers could be the addition of Comcast SportsNet Houston to the local lineup, making previously unavailable Houston Rockets and Houston Astros games available in Central Texas.

The struggling network has minimal viewership and has, in recent weeks, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Gary Dinges

About Gary Dinges

Gary Dinges covers bars/restaurants, movies, music, radio and TV -- plus a bunch of other fun stuff -- for the Austin American-Statesman.

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