Franken Campaign Site Targets Comcast/TWC

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who has already declared himself no fan of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, is looking to collect some ammunition in his fight against consolidation.

In a survey posted to Franken's campaign Web site (he is running for re-election in the fall), Franken asks for help from consumers in protecting them from "skyrocketing cable rates."

The survey asks questions about price and service quality, but also whether they "feel like" they have a choice "when it comes to cable service."

The last two questions are the kickers: "Are you concerned that the Comcast-Time-Warner deal would result in higher prices and/or worse service for you?," followed by: "Tell us what you think about the proposed Comcast-Time Warner deal."

Franken, a former NBC employee who opposed Comcast's purchase of that company and grilled then NBC top exec Jeff Zucker during hearings, has made it clear how he feels about the Comcast/TWC deal.

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper following the deal's announcement, Franken said the merger of the biggest cable company with the second biggest company is going "exactly in the wrong direction." He said he was concerned that consumers would be paying higher bills and getting "even worse" service and less choice.

Franken said the proposed new company's one-third of Internet subs also made it "too big."

Franken said there needed to be more competition, not less. Asked how that could be achieved, Franken said: "We don't allow the two biggest companies to merge. That's how we have more competition." He quickly added that the Senate needed to look at the deal and that he "had not come down one way or the other."

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.