Consumer Watchdog Calls On FCC To Reject $45 Billion Comcast - Time Warner Deal
Consumer Watchdog has filed formal comments calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable because the deal "is not at all in the public interest."
"The consolidation of the largest cable television providers would create a media juggernaut that would stifle completion and hurt consumers who would ultimately pay higher prices for even worse service," wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project Director in comments filed late Monday with the FCC.
The formal comments to the FCC highlighted Consumer Watchdog's concern about Comcast's potential for abuse since it has become a content provider with its acquisition of NBCUniversal. Simpson wrote:
"By controlling the means of distribution via cable TV or the Internet, Comcast will be able to unfairly promote its content over the content of other providers, limiting choice for consumers. With its deal with Netflix to expedite the popular service's video, there are already troubling signs that Comcast is using its power unfairly to hurt content providers and limit consumers' choice on the Internet. The Netflix deal also breaches commitments Comcast made when that merger was approved to maintain 'net neutrality. It is a clear that Comcast's pledges are quickly ignored in the face of a drive to increase profits and that behavioral conditions do not work."
Read Consumer Watchdog's formal comments to the FCC here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/fcccomcastcomments082514.pdf
While the FCC must determine whether the deal is the public interest, the merger must also pass antitrust muster by the Department of Justice. Consumer Watchdog objected to the deal to Justice on antitrust grounds earlier this year. The prestigious American Antitrust Institute also says the deal should be blocked for antitrust reasons.