New Members Flock to Stop Mega Comcast Coalition



For Immediate Release: January 12, 2015

The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition, which comprises public interest organizations, private companies, labor unions and industry associations opposed to the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, today announced the addition of 12 new organizations, bringing the coalition to 27 total members. The new members include:

“The rapid growth of the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition reflects the profound threat this merger poses to consumers, competitors and the public interest,” said Gene Kimmelman, President and CEO of Public Knowledge. “Our continued growth will serve to amplify our message to law enforcement agencies that this merger must be blocked.”

The coalition’s expanded roster reflects the growing importance of this issue to consumers and the competitive landscape. To date, over 680,000 public comments have been filed with the FCC to express opposition to the merger, including the filings by Stop Mega Comcast Coalition members. Prevailing concerns include the risk 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 – among myriad other potential issues.

“The swelling opposition to this transaction speaks volumes,” said Kimmelman. “Even in the face of Comcast’s well known penchant for retaliating against companies that dare oppose it, organizations of all types are joining together to say this merger is not in the public interest. We encourage all interested organizations and stakeholders to join our fight against this merger.”

For more information, please visit: Coalition’s current membership includes: Common Cause, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation Of America, Consumers Union, DISH Network Corporation, Engine, FairPoint Communications, Future of Music Coalition, Greenlining Institute, Hargray Communications Group, Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance (“ITTA”), LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, Media Alliance, National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, National Consumer Law Center, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation, Parents Television Council, Public Knowledge, The Blaze, The National Asian American Coalition (“NAAC”), The Rural Broadband Alliance (“RBA”), The Sports Fans Coalition, WeatherNation TV, Writers Guild of America, East, Writers Guild of America, West, and Z Living.


Statements from the new Coalition members:

Delara Derakhshani, Policy Counsel, Consumers Union:
“Consumers are highly skeptical of this merger – and for good reason. Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are notorious for poor customer service and arbitrary price hikes – issues which are bound to persist, if not increase, under Mega Comcast’s regime. By joining this coalition, we hope to sound the alarm on how this merger would lead to higher prices, fewer choices and worse service for consumers.”

Common Cause:
“The creation of Mega Comcast would be a mega disaster for America, triggering higher costs for customers, greater barriers to entry for independent voices, and fewer choices for Internet users across the country. Momentum against this deal continues to grow, and we look forward to working with regulators to see that it’s blocked.”

Open Technology Institute at New America Foundation:
“With control of over 50 percent of high-speed broadband connections, a post-merger Comcast would have the ability and the incentive to raise prices, limit access to content, and fundamentally alter how consumers use the Internet. We urge regulators to fulfill their commitments to fair competition and consumer choice by rejecting this merger.”

Gaurav Bidasaria, Chief Financial Officer, Z Living:
“The public interest in reasonable access to innovative, multi-cultural, diverse, informative and entertaining programming requires the protection of independent programmers. However, the very existence of true independents will be threatened if control of distribution is concentrated in one or two mega-carriers, particularly if those companies demonstrate hostility towards independents and favor networks in which they are invested or which are part of multi-channel conglomerates. The FCC should reject any merger that robs consumers of the right to choose, and independent programmers of the ability to compete.”

Evan Engstrom, Policy Director, Engine:
“Consumers, startups and the economy will suffer if Mega Comcast materializes. The merger would allow Mega Comcast to both expand and tighten its grip on the broadband and cable marketplace, and to discriminate against competing service providers. Under these conditions, the incentive to develop new Internet technologies would rapidly decline.”

LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition:
“Both parties involved in this transaction are notorious for discriminating against low power television (LPTV) stations, many of which specialize in local or community-centric content. Post-merger, consumer access to hyper-local and civic programming would undoubtedly suffer, while many small broadcast stations supporting this content would likely be forced to shut down operations. We urge the FCC and DOJ to take stock of the devastating impact Mega Comcast would have on the thousands of small business LPTV stations, as well as our tens of millions of consumer-viewers, and to block the merger.”

Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Media Alliance:
“Mega Comcast would threaten the U.S. media infrastructure, to the detriment of consumers everywhere. The conglomerate’s profound power over content and distribution would ensure smaller, rival companies are denied access to viewers, and dramatically decrease innovation among competitors. Given that Comcast has raised its prices nearly 70 percent over the last five years, consumers could anticipate ongoing rate increases, despite fewer viewing options. The evidence is clear – the merger must be stopped.”

Wendy Levy, Executive Director
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture:
“Independent arts and media organizations provide crucial social, economic and cultural value to audiences across the county. If approved, this merger would severely limit the ability of creative agencies, producers, filmmakers and journalists to develop and share new content and innovative projects with mainstream audiences. Despite paying for so-called premium service, consumers would find far fewer choices and the voices of under-represented communities would effectively be censored. We urge regulators to reject this transaction, and protect access to independent voices in the media.”

National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients:
“We are concerned about the impact of this merger on the access to affordable, quality broadband service for households with limited means, including fixed-income seniors, consumers with disabilities and low-income families. Any transaction among media-and-technology companies that expands the digital divide is not in the public interest.”

Faith Bautista, President and CEO
The National Asian American Coalition:
“”More than 130 million minorities in the U.S. already face abundant challenges to accessing affordable, quality Internet and cable services at four times the cost of similar comprehensive packages in France or Korea. Mega Comcast’s dominance over broadband would compound these market conditions, further reducing options for minority consumers. As a result our organization has met with and will continue to meet with regulators to relay how this transaction would harm underserved communities throughout the U.S.”

The Rural Broadband Alliance:
“Access to Internet and cable services is critical to everyday life in rural areas, as are the small and local businesses that facilitate these services. However, if Mega Comcast usurps control of nearly one-third of the pay TV market – as this merger would allow – the ability to provide affordable programming to consumers in rural areas, if at all, would inevitably decline. To protect rural communities from these exclusionary practices, the merger must be blocked.”

Michael Winship, President, Writer’s Guild of America, East:
“Writers are the lifeblood of the television shows, movies, radio programming and digital media consumers enjoy every day. The consolidation of Comcast and Time Warner Cable would render an entity so vast and powerful that these creators of content would face significantly fewer opportunities to pitch, develop and distribute compelling programming to viewers. This deal is anti-creativity, anti-competition, anti-consumer.”


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