He stopped short of asking the FCC to nix the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a laundry list of concerns about the deal and "threats" represented by the deal in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler dated Oct. 29.
Among his concerns are 1) quality and affordability of business service and the possibility of a merged company would be less responsive to customer concerns; 2) the potential threat to network neutrality and innovation given what they estimate will be the 40% of broadband subs the combined company would control; and 3) Comcast/TWC's potential increased influence over the cable advertising market via national cable ad buyer National Cable Communications. "This extreme degree of consolidation threatens to make it more
difficult and expensive for area businesses to secure local advertising opportunities that are
essential to their success," he said.
Ultimately, de Blasio simply asks the FCC to take all that into account as it considers whether to allow the deal.
It has currently stopped the informal shot clock on its vetting of the deal (as of Oct. 3) while it collects more info and addresses an issue about how it will review sensitive programming contracts.
A Comcast spokesperson points out that the company has already rebutted those arguments in its FCC filings (http://corporate.comcast.com/twctransaction/official-filings-together), and also says that, in terms of the ad market, actual advertisers, like MediaVest, have filed in support of the deal.
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.
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