Activists protest merger plan at Comcast shareholders meeting

Activists protest merger plan at Comcast shareholders meeting

By Daniel Weissglass

Common Cause activists were part of a crowd that gathered outside of the Comcast shareholders meeting in Philadelphia today to protest the company’s planned merger with Time Warner Cable. Under the slogan #IVoteNo, the group called for increased consumer choice in the cable market; speakers included Todd O’Boyle (pictured above), program director for Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.

The $45 billion merger would create the largest Internet provider in the country, with over 30 million cable subscribers and the power to choke out competition and raise rates for cable TV and Internet service. Advocates for a free and open Internet argue that the deal signals a return to the days of a monopolized phone service, with a single company able to set prices and control use across the country.

Common Cause has called on the Federal Communications Commission to reject the merger. The plan “ought to be dead on arrival,” said Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner now serving as special adviser to Common Cause on media and democracy issues. He urged citizens to sign Common Cause’s petition to the FCC opposing the merger.