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Comcast/TWC Critics: Neutrality Condition Would Not Sweeten It

Groups that don't like the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger still don't like the merger, and would not like it even if it had a net neutrality condition that applied the new rules regardless of their court status.

Friday, 37 groups that have been criticizing the deal sent a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler reminding him of how much they don't like it.

Now that the FCC's new Open Internet rules have been taken to court by cable and telco operators, one line of thinking is that approving the deal with a net neutrality condition would mean that a company serving between and a third and a half of broadband subs would be subjected to the rules no matter what happened in court, as was the case with the net neutrality condition on the Comcast/NBCU deal.

But the groups are saying that should not make the deal easier to swallow.

"Your steadfast commitment to competition would risk being eviscerated if Comcast were allowed to control over 50% of high-speed residential broadband connections nationwide. No condition, including but not limited to a 'net neutrality' provision modeled on the Open Internet order, can address the myriad ways a combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable would be able to thwart competition and convert its massive network into a closed system of preferential treatment for its own content or the content of a select few," they said.

The letter signatories included Dish, Consumers Union, the Writers Guild of America, West, and Free Press.

“This isn't any different than the coalition members they already have and they don't make any new arguments while continuing to ignore the facts that there is no reduction in competition for consumers and considerable benefits like higher broadband speeds, better video products including twice as much VOD, more competition for businesses, and a low income adoption program which would be available to millions of Americans for the first time,” said a Comcast spokesperson.