A powerful corporate lobby that has quietly engineered the passage of hundreds of pro-business state laws is setting its sights on securing federal approval of the controversial proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) also is pushing the Federal Communications Commission to relax Open Internet regulations so that internet service providers (ISPs) can slow down some websites and online applications while speeding up others.
ALEC called on the FCC last week to fast track approval of the Comcast -- Time Warner Cable deal “with little to no regulatory conditions.” The merger would create a de-facto national cable monopoly, with unprecedented control over what you can see and say online and on the cable dial.
In a letter to the FCC, ALEC also declares its opposition to net neutrality and the Open Internet, calling net neutrality rules an “inflated regulatory burden.” That’s nonsense. Open Internet guarantees protect consumers from ISP gatekeeping. Without those rules, ISPs can effectively block your access to the websites and services you relay on every day. And because voters study the issues online, maintaining the Open Internet is critical to maintaining and strengthening democracy.
ALEC’s moves are anything but surprising, as both Comcast and TWC are ALEC members. Comcast has served as ALEC’s state corporate co-chair in Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and Utah, while Time Warner Cable serves as Ohio’s ALEC corporate chair. Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are members of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. In these task forces, Comcast and TWC lobbyists vote as equals with elected officials behind closed doors to endorse bills that cut corporate taxes, restrict municipal broadband systems, and eliminate hard won consumer protections on telecoms.
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Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy
Tags: Broadband for All