Coalition on Comcast/TWC: Stop the wedding

By on Dec, 4 2014 with Comments 0

Comcast-logoA group of groups is calling on the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast Communications from acquiring Time Warner Cable, and with it, undue market power.

The group is called the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition.

It issued a manifesto, which states:

“Mega Comcast will have unprecedented power over broadband, controlling 50% of the residential high-speed access points across the country. This unprecedented market power will position Mega Comcast as the gatekeeper to half our nation’s broadband homes and also telecom markets such as local cable advertising, programming and pay TV, Latino, as well critical information gateways such as set-top boxes and streaming services.

“Combining its increased cable and broadband market power with its ownership of NBCU, Mega Comcast will have the incentive and ability to stifle competition across these markets. All of this will harm, or even destroy, competing companies, and ultimately result in fewer choices, higher prices, less innovation and worse service for consumers across the country.

“This much power concentrated in a single entity would be frightening even for the most trustworthy of companies. And Comcast is definitely not that. In fact, Comcast at its current size already has a well-established record of abusing its market power, ignoring merger conditions and providing historically bad service to its customers.

“Mega Comcast’s concentrated market power runs counter to well-established antitrust law and is plainly counter to the public interest. These facts, along with Comcast’s long history of abusing its power and disregarding its legal obligations, provide ample grounds for the DOJ and the FCC to reject the deal.  It is not a close call.”

Members include:
Blaze TV
Consumer Action
CFA
Dish
Future of Music Coalition
Fair Point Communications
Greenlining Institute
Hargray
itta
NTA, the Rural Broadcast Association
Parents Television Council
Public Knowledge
Sports Fab Organization
WeatherNation
Writers Guild of America, West

The coalition provides a lengthy list of individuals and entities that have expressed opposition to the merger, including member of Congress, advocacy groups and associations, and academics.

The Coalition believes that among other things, Comcast will be able to discriminate in favor of its own programming, will be above drive down fees paid to other providers, and would have control over 71% of local cable advertising revenue. Additionally, it would reach 91% of the Hispanic population, including 19 of the top 20 Latino markets, giving it undue influence over that segment of the media.

About The Author: RBR+TVBR has been reporting on the business of broadcasting for nearly three decades. Beholden to no one, it is independently owned.

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