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Stop Mega Comcast Group Adds New Members

The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition said it has added a dozen new members, although a number of the new groups were already independently critical of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and are just officially adding their voices to the business end of the coalition megaphone.

The new members are Common Cause, Consumers Union, Engine, LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, Media Alliance, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, National Consumer Law Center, Open Technology Institute (New America Foundation), National Asia American Coalition, Rural Broadband Alliance, Writers Guild of America, Ease, Z Living.

The coalition says its expanded roster "reflects the growing importance of this issue to consumers and the competitive landscape."

Media analysis are still banking on the deal going through, though with conditions.

At press time the informal clock was stopped on the FCC's merger review process related to an ongoing legal battle over third-party access to programming contract documents, including e-mails and other negotiation work product, though the FCC has signaled it would start up again Jan. 12.

The coalition is concerned that the combined company "will dominate the high-speed broadband market and have the means and incentive to use that dominance to increase prices, act as gatekeeper to consumer access to content and further erode customer service."

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have argued they need to get together to better compete with competing distributors with national footprints--DirecTV, Dish, Netflix--and that since they don't compete with each other for broadband subs now, combining their Internet access service will not reduce competition.

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.