December 5, 2014
Companies, labor unions and other groups have formed a ‘Stop Mega Comcast’ coalition in a bid to stop Comcast’s proposed $45-billion merger with Time Warner Cable.
The coalition — whose members include Dish Network, the Rural Broadband Association, the Parents Television Council and Blaze TV, to name a few — is asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject the merger.
“Mega Comcast will have unprecedented power over broadband, controlling 50 percent of the residential high-speed access points across the country,” the group said in a statement on its website. “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 devices.
The group said if Time Warner were to combine its cable and broadband market power with its ownership of NBCU, it would be able to stifle competition and harm, or potentially destroy, competing companies.
“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,” the group said.
“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.”
The FCC just this week started the clock ticking for the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner. Earlier this fall, the FCC halted the 180-day clock on the proposed deal but, on Wednesday, restarted the clock at day 85.
A FCC public notice explained that “because reviewing parties can access highly confidential information that is not video programming confidential information (VPCI), the pleading cycles are restarted to allow interested parties to provide comments that do not rely on VPCI.”
The FCC is tasked with deciding if it should approve the merger before the clock runs out.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.