For Immediate Release: April 24th, 2015
OAKLAND — Comcast announced today that the proposed merger with Time Warner is officially off, and local and national civil rights organizations couldn’t be happier.
This announcement comes after months of pressure from diverse groups representing Latino and Black communities, calling the proposed merger disastrous for low-income consumers. Members and partners of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), representing more than 175 grassroots organizations, have been actively organizing to ensure the merger did not get approved.
Over one million comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) explaining why this deal would be detrimental for people of color and poor people. In particular, Latino leaders raised concerns that a merger would give Comcast a monopoly over Latino cable subscribers.
The collapse of the Comcast-Time Warner merger comes on the heels of a decision by the FCC to pass the strongest network neutrality rules ever proposed. Together, these two victories represent the big impact of a little known movement for media justice.
Steven Renderos, National Organizer, Center for Media Justice (Oakland,CA):
“Millions of people spoke out in favor of an Open Internet and against the Comcast merger because our communities are fed up with a media system that only benefits the few. All the money Comcast spent on buying support for this merger could not hide the reality that our communities could not afford a future with fewer options and higher prices. There are still millions of people in the United States who lack access to affordable broadband, and extending the promise of the Internet to these communities should be a top priority of agencies like the FCC. Solutions like municipal broadband and modernizing the Lifeline program can help us close that divide.”
Hannah Sassaman, Policy Director at Media Mobilizing Project (Philadelphia, PA)
“As local and national news stories reported, Comcast’s abysmal record in its own hometown was the canary in the coalmine for communities considering a Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. Here in Philly, we are have the third worst broadband penetration of any big city in the United States, Comcast costs are higher than many other cities, and Comcast is a known opponent of workers’ rights and fully funded public schools. Defeating this merger is a breath of fresh air for the poorest big city in the United States – and we will now fight for a new Comcast franchise that expands affordable internet, resources for schools and services, workers’ rights, and competition in the hometown we love.”
Arturo Carmona, Executive Director, Presente.org:
“Latinos have been the tip of the spear in opposing this deal from the beginning, and for good reason. Our communities were the most vulnerable to this unprecedented merger that threatened to combine 19 of the top 21 Latino markets giving Comcast reach to over 90% of the Latino community. It is without question the most dangerous proposed merger Latinos have seen in recent memory, and we will continue to monitor the situation and strongly oppose the merger until the official withdrawal happens.”
Joseph Torres, Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press (Washington, D.C.)
“Stopping this merger is a major victory for all those voices who are fighting to a more just media and communications system. But now we have to push for policies that will result in a more fair and equitable media system, a system where families have many options for affordable broadband access and our digital rights are protected and not threatened by big corporate gatekeepers.”
Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director Media Alliance (Oakland, CA):
“The merger would have been a disaster for consumers already burdened with high prices and lousy service. Government hasn’t had a great track record with putting the public interest ahead of corporate profits, but today’s announcement shows that is starting to change. Accessible, affordable and non-discriminatory communication for all is an engine for human dignity, innovation and creativity. This anti-competitive merger was defeated by the voices of millions who said no more to gatekeeping and no more to monopolies.”
Orson Aguilar, Executive Director, Greenlining Institute (San Francisco, CA):
“Regulators did the right thing by giving this deal close, careful scrutiny, and as a result, low-income consumers and communities of color won a major victory today. This merger would have widened the digital divide and created permanent second-class service for low-income customers.”