WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Comcast filed documents at the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to approve its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. If the deal is approved, Comcast will become the dominant cable company for two-thirds of the country and it will control over half of the nation’s next-generation broadband customers.
More than 50 public interest groups submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling a market takeover of this scale “unthinkable” and urging the agency to block the deal. The coalition delivered the same letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, which is also charged with reviewing the merger.
The groups signing the letter include leading consumer rights, arts, free speech, and open Internet organizations, including Consumers Union, CREDO, Demand Progress, Free Press, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, the National Organization for Women, the Parents Television Council, Public Knowledge and the Writers Guild of America East and West.
Given “the complete lack of any tangible benefits, it’s clear that the union of the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 cable companies is not good for competition or in the public interest,” the letter reads. The letter is available at freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/Letter_Opposing_Comcast-TWC_Merger_4-08-14.pdf.
Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“The question before the FCC is whether this deal serves the public interest. The answer is clear: A bigger Comcast is bad for America.
“Merging the nation’s two biggest cable-Internet providers would turn Comcast into our communications gatekeeper, able to dictate the cost and content of news, information and entertainment. We need an Internet and video marketplace that offers people high-quality options at prices they can afford — not a near-national monopoly determining what we can watch and download.
“In the past four years, Comcast has raised basic cable rates in some markets by nearly 70 percent. Its top lobbyist has admitted that the price increases will continue to skyrocket if the merger goes through. And that's about the only thing Comcast has said about this deal that you should believe.
“The growing chorus of groups opposing this takeover knows the truth. The only rational choice is for the FCC and Justice Department to reject this merger."