To protect every New Yorker’s voice, the internet must be accessible to all. The internet has become our electronic town square. To ensure that every voice can be heard, we can’t permit it to be controlled or dominated by any individuals, groups, or organization who can drown out smaller or less powerful voices. Big cable companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T want to be able to control the flow of ideas and information. Common Cause New York is committed to equality on the internet for all New Yorkers.
Advocates for net neutrality won an important battle when over four million citizen comments pushed the FCC to vote to establish strong safeguards for free expression on the Internet, thereby defeating those who wanted to be able to create, and charge for, varying tiers of service. But recent efforts are threatening the FCC’s ability to enforce its own Open Internet rules. Common Cause and allies are fighting to oppose the FCC’s misguided actions and restore the net neutrality rules through all fronts including litigation, state legislation, and the Congressional Review Act.
Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger
In 2014, Common Cause New York joined advocacy groups across the state to oppose the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger, avoiding higher prices, fewer choices, and even worse customer service for consumers. After urging advocates to to voice concerns at public hearings about the proposal, the Public Service Commission (PSC) ultimately rejected the deal.
The company pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow a two tiered system of high speed internet service in which subscribers would have to pay extra for decent service. A merger between Comcast and Time Warner in New York State would have resulted in unacceptable market power that would result from letting too few companies control so much media in the United States. The issue was particularly resonant for New Yorkers, 95% of whom have access to broadband, with two-thirds of residential customers choosing cable broadband. New York State’s roughly two million small businesses would also have been impacted by a negative FCC ruling, which would add an unfair burden to the backbone of the upstate economy.