Comcast Merger Is Bad for Consumers

Senators and Regulators Should Put the Public First
Contact Info: 

Liz Rose, Communications Director, Free Press, 202-265-1490 x 32 or

WASHINGTON -- Today, members of the Senate Commerce Committee will examine the pending Comcast-NBC merger.

Corie Wright, Free Press policy counsel, made the following statement:

"Today is the fourth hearing on Comcast’s proposed $30 billion takeover of NBC yet federal officials have only begun to scratch the surface of the anti-competitive impacts this merger will have. Many questions remain unanswered.

"For example, what impact will this merger have on disputes over the terms and rates for carrying local broadcasters on cable systems? Just last weekend, ABC pulled its broadcast signal from distribution by Cablevision. Once Comcast own NBC, it will have greater incentives to charge its cable competitors higher rates for NBC programming and pull NBC’s broadcast signal from competing subscription TV providers if negotiations break down. That could leave a lot of consumers without access to NBC news and entertainment programming.

"What impact will the merger have on cable rates? Lawmakers should scrutinize this deal and prevent Comcast from extorting unfair rate increases from consumers in markets where there will be less competition in cable and Internet services. Senators should ask Comcast about the company’s recent decision to raise cable and broadband access rates, even though its costs are going down.

"If this merger is allowed to go through, consumers suffering from higher prices and fewer choices will wonder who allowed it to happen. The Senate Commerce Committee has a history of standing up against media consolidation. We hope that it will continue its efforts to resist media consolidation when examining one of the biggest media mergers in history."

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