Consumer Groups Quick to Warn Against Comcast Deal to Buy Time Warner Cable

“A merger of the two biggest cable companies should be unthinkable,” says leading advocate

Consumer groups concerned about media consolidation were quick to reject the prospect of a merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, with one urging the FCC and Justice Department to block the deal even before it was announced.
Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron said in a statement Wednesday night his group would urge the deal be rejected:

“In an already uncompetitive market with high prices that keep going up and up, a merger of the two biggest cable companies should be unthinkable,” he said. “This deal would be a disaster for consumers and must be stopped.”

Also read: Comcast to Buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 Billion (Report)

He said the deal would give Comcast control of more than a third of the U.S. pay-TV market and more than half of the U.S. triple-play market for video, voice and Internet service.
Multiple media outlets reported late Wednesday that Comcast was set to buy Time Warner Cable for a total of $45 billion.

“Comcast will have unprecedented market power over consumers and an unprecedented ability to exert its influence over any channels or businesses that want to reach Comcast's customers.” said Aaron.

“No one woke up this morning wishing their cable company was bigger or had more control over what they could watch or download. But that — along with higher bills — is  the reality they'll face tomorrow unless the Department of Justice and the FCC do their jobs and block this merger. Stopping this kind of deal is exactly why we have antitrust laws.

Also read: Time Warner Cable CEO Says Charter Bid ‘Undervalues’ Company

“Americans already hate dealing with the cable guy — and both these giant companies regularly rank among the worst of the worst in consumer surveys. But this deal would be the cable guy on steroids — pumped up, unstoppable and grasping for your wallet.”

Public Knowledge, another consumer group, offered similar sentiments. John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney in a statement said the deal would give Comcast too much control and called on the FCC and Justice Department to stop the deal..

“It is simply dangerous for a large proportion of our nation's critical communications infrastructure to be in the hands of one provider.”He said the deal would give Comcast “unprecedented gatekeeper power” in several major markets. “It is already the nation's largest ISP, the nation's largest video provider, and the nation's largest home phone provider.  It also controls a movie studio, broadcast network, and many popular cable channels,” he said.

“An enlarged Comcast would be the bully in the schoolyard, able to dictate terms to content creators, Internet companies, other communications networks that must interconnect with it, and distributors who must access its content.”
  • Daniel Sterling Sample

    Dear Dimwitted America, Would you please pull your heads out of your ***es!? The Hollywood Mafia “owns” President Obama and Congress and the Department of Justice, thanks to your indifference to going to the voting station on election day! You are getting just what you deserve! Please bend over and drop your panties because the Hollywood Mafia is only getting started with working you over! China is next for “Hollywood Styled Corruption”! Daniel Sterling Sample in beautiful downtown Hollywood…..

    • AirBiscuit

      If you live in America, Daniel, you are also one of the dimwits.

  • Daniel Sterling Sample

    Dear Stupid-Blind America, Did I also mention the FCC, the folks in Washington who allowed the TV networks to split up their allotted network bands so they could create multiples of TV channels to broadcast on??? The national TV networks didn't pay one penny extra for creating additional TV channels on the airwaves that belong to America! The fact is, the national TV networks now have more TV channels than they have use for!!! Daniel Sterling Sample in beautiful downtown Hollywood….

  • cw

    Yes the pundits scream “freedom” and I am supposed to snap
    to attention? All the pundits above are
    jockeying to see who the smartest is yet all have missed the fundamental market
    realties.

    1)
    A 1992 must carry/retrans antiquated law (written
    before the internet was invested) has strangled the MVPD’s with billions of
    dollars of fees paid to broadcasting companies (who own and control 39 % of the
    country) Those fees had to get passed onto the customer. Pundits above where
    were you when broadcasters took a FCC license owned and granted by the American
    people and allowed them to extract billions of dollars of cable /sat fees and
    put it into their companies VS back into the America coffers or even better not
    get fees at all. Since broadcasting isn’t
    free anymore that is what is forcing this consolidation including spurring
    Comcast to by a NBC in the first place. Now you have concerns…? Get rid of
    retrans/must carry and consolidation would not have to occur.

    2)
    Screaming
    this will cause tolls and the end of net neutrality? Did Google and Netflix
    spend 18 billion dollars of shareholder dollars to build cable lines or launch
    satellites into space to deliver Internet to homes all across America? That would be No….so they should just get to
    clog those lines for free? PUNDITS
    ABOVE: I know you own a car, I am going to borrow it for free, put thousands of
    miles on it , wear out the brakes and tires and return it at my convenience for
    no consideration…you ok with that? If you are not I will scream “freedom of
    choice”.

    3)
    Market power isn’t illegal, abuse of that market
    power is. Comcast has generally been a great corporate citizen and is leading
    technical innovations , supporting net neutrality and they even have launched
    great independent channels like Revolt and Ovation arts network.

    Yes consolidation is scary…and yes I almost
    appreciate your watchdog eyes on it but PLEASE understand line item #1 this is where your fight is

  • Up and Over

    Bend over and get ready for this to be rammed home in the form of much higher cable services. Direct T.V. is looking very good right now.