August 26, 2014 // NEW YORK: Comcast Corp.’s proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable would have no significant benefits for American consumers or businesses and could pose a serious threat to entrepreneurial growth in the U.S., investors said in a federal filing opposing the merger.
Open MIC – the Open Media and Information Companies Initiative – and investment firms Trillium Asset Management and Arjuna Capital/Baldwin Brothers Inc., have told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable would “possess unprecedented power to determine the cable TV programming available to hundreds of millions of Americans while, at the same time, controlling the economics of broadband Internet access for millions of individuals and businesses that depend on high-speed data connections for their livelihood.”
“As investors,” the filing states, “we firmly believe that a robust and competitive broadband Internet is an economic necessity. It is critical to economic growth, innovation and democratic engagement –serving the interests of business, society, and investors.” The proposed merger strengthens the argument for reclassifying broadband Internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act, according to the organizations.
The organizations added that “Comcast’s and Time Warner Cable’s claims that the proposed transaction will enable ‘innovation’ in the broadband Internet market belie their demonstrated reputations as being among the worst service providers in their industry.”
Regulatory conditions that might seek to make the proposed merger acceptable would be difficult to enforce, the investors said. They cited a Comcast program called “Internet Essentials” which was introduced by the company in 2011 in an effort to gain regulatory approval for its merger with NBC Universal. That program has been a huge failure, subject to widespread criticism by civil rights advocates. The Center for Public Integrity recently found that of the 7.2 million low-income families in Comcast’s service area, only 2.6 million are eligible for “Internet Essentials.”
A full copy of the Open MIC investor filing with the FCC is available here.
For more information:
Michael Connor, Executive Director – Open MIC
firstname.lastname@example.org / 212-875-9381