Consolidation Critics Tell Wheeler to Block Comcast/TWC

In the wake of Comcast's filing of the proposed Time Warner Cable merger with the FCC April 8, 50 public advocacy groups including Free Press, Public Knowledge, and NOW, wrote FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to oppose the deal as "unthinkable" gatekeeper power over the Internet.

They said the deal represents clear and present dangers to the broadband and video markets, but particularly broadband, without any tangible benefits.

They urged Wheeler to block the merger, saying it would "position Comcast as our communications gatekeeper, giving it the power to dictate the future of numerous industries across the Internet, television and telecommunications landscape."

Comcast says it is companies like Netflix and Google who have more market power and reach in the national communications space and they need the scale to be more competitive.

It will be up to the FCC and Justice Department to decide which argument holds sway and how to proceed. If the deal is approved it will come with numerous conditions in an effort to ameliorate those concerns, but the groups writing Wheeler suggest no conditions will make the deal in the public interest.                 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.