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Meet GreatLand Connections, home of 2.5 million leftover Comcast customers

Meet GreatLand Connections, home of 2.5 million leftover Comcast customers

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As Comcast pushes for a merger with Time Warner Cable, we now know what might become the fifth largest cable operator in the US: the newly formed GreatLand Connections. Comcast has officially named the company formerly known as "SpinCo," where it announced it would deposit 2.5 million Comcast customers earlier this year. The move is an attempt to placate regulators by ensuring Comcast won't own more than 30 percent of the TV service market, even after it folds in subscribers from TWC. The "30 percent rule" was struck down as official FCC policy in 2009, but Comcast has written before that it will adhere to it anyways as a show of good faith.

If the merger goes through, a portion of Comcast networks across Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin will be spun off under the GreatLand banner. According to previous statements, the company will be publicly traded, but it will be partially managed by Charter, currently the fourth-largest cable operator. Charter will hold a 33 percent stake, while 67 percent will be owned by Comcast shareholders (but not Comcast itself.) Its president and CEO, Michael Willner, is the former CEO of Insight Communications, a cable company that was bought by TWC in 2012. Board members will be selected by Charter and Comcast. Separately, Charter is also directly acquiring 1.4 million Time Warner Cable customers as part of the deal.

The name of the company is a trivial thing, for all Willner's excitement that it "pays homage to the rich history and striking geographies" of the states it covers. But if the Comcast/TWC merger is approved, you'll want to get familiar with it, as it could be one of the biggest operators in the country. While Comcast's deal is predicated on preventing accusations that it has a cable monopoly, much of the merger controversy has focused on its internet service — it could capture over half the high-speed broadband market, though Comcast claims that it's also facing competition from DSL and mobile internet providers. The deal is currently undergoing scrutiny from the FTC and the FCC, the latter of which concluded its public comment period last week.