400,000 Join Chorus of Protest Against Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

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  • Dale Eisman

WASHINGTON — As the Senate Judiciary Committee began scrutinizing the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger on Wednesday, 400,000 Americans already had signed petitions urging Washington to reject the deal.

The petitions, organized by public interest groups Common Cause, Consumers Union, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Free Press and Working Families, will be delivered to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, which are charged with reviewing the deal.

If the merger is approved, Comcast will become the dominant cable company for two-thirds of the country and will control over half of the nation’s next-generation broadband customers.

“Comcast has unleashed an army of lobbyists in Washington to win approval of this deal,” said Craig Aaron of Free Press. “But the cable giant can’t fool the American people, who are tired of sky-high prices, lousy customer service and too few companies controlling what they can watch or download. Combining the two largest cable companies would be anti-competitive, anti-consumer and just plain bad for America.”

“Consumers are fed up with Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which already rank toward the bottom when it comes to customer satisfaction,” said Delara Derakhshani of Consumers Union. “This merger is a bad deal for consumers that would give Comcast even greater control of the market and little incentive to improve prices or customer service. It’s no wonder so many consumers are voicing their opposition to this mega-merger.”

“Our country lags behind the rest of the developed world on Internet service, speed and affordability,” said Dan Cantor of Working Families. “We should narrow the digital divide by investing in infrastructure — but this mega-merger would only threaten to make that gap worse.”

“This merger is a bad deal for the American public and should be denied outright,” said Rachel Colyer of Daily Kos. “No conditions will make this agreement acceptable, as we’ve already seen Comcast did not fulfill agency-mandated merger conditions in the recent past.”

“Comcast and Time Warner Cable may have scores of lobbyists, but policymakers in Washington should listen instead to the hundreds of thousands of everyday people who are saying enough is enough,” said Todd O’Boyle of Common Cause. “These two firms have abysmal records of customer service and unseemly influence peddling. A merger should be unthinkable.”

“The market for Internet service already has too few players, not too many,” said David Segal of Demand Progress. “That’s why Americans already suffer some of the slowest and priciest Internet access in the developed world. We need to be fostering a more competitive environment — not one where a few corrupt behemoths can throw around their political clout and corner the market.”

On Tuesday, more than 50 public interest groups submitted a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block the deal.