Sixty-five consumer, social justice, and media reform organizations on Monday released an open letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable on the basis that it would “inevitably lead to unprecedented gatekeeper control over our nation’s telecommunications and media landscape.”
The letter was timed for the final day of the FCC’s public comment period, which concludes Monday at midnight.
In submitting the statement, the organizations add to the growing numbers of people across the United States who vocally oppose the deal—from street protests to petitions, including one that garnered 400,000 signatures.
Announced in February, Comcast’s proposed $70 billion merger (including $45 billion in equity and $25 billion worth of debt) with its largest cable competitor would give the company control over high-speed internet access for nearly 40 percent of U.S. consumers and two-thirds of the cable market.
The letter—signed by organizations including the Media Mobilizing Project, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, and Center for Rural Strategies—warns that the pact “would allow Comcast to use its increased market power, and increased control over millions more customers, to dictate terms to broadband content providers and increase its leverage over cable programmers.”
Comcast has sought to curry political and public favor by championing the “Internet Essentials” program it says provides affordable broadband service to low-income communities and presenting itself as a defender of net neutrality. But Timothy Karr of Free Press, one of the organizations that signed onto the letter, told Common Dreams that this is empty rhetoric is aimed at “sweetening the deal in the eyes of regulators.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT