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Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is still a bad deal

A new Consumers Union campaign presses the government to reject the proposed marriage

Published: March 06, 2015 03:45 PM
An ad from the Consumers Union campaign

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Year after year, Comcast—the nation’s biggest cable and broadband provider—gets poor marks for lousy customer service and big price hikes.

Yet Comcast is still trying to convince the federal government to let it become even bigger and more powerful by merging with fellow media giant Time Warner Cable.

This megadeal is currently under review by federal regulators in Washington, D.C. If the deal gets approved, Comcast would gain unprecedented control over what people see on TV and online, and how much they pay for it.

At Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, we think this merger is a bad deal for consumers. A combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable would have little incentive to treat you the customer better. Instead, you could expect things to go from bad to worse—higher prices, fewer choices, and more poor service.

For the past year, we’ve been making our case to the Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department, members of Congress and other policymakers, and state attorneys general to explain why we think this deal ought to be rejected.

This month, we’re launching a new ad campaign to press regulators to do the right thing for consumers. The print and online ads are running in the Washington, D.C. market, as well as on the radio. Our basic message is: "What's worse than Comcast today? Comcast tomorrow."

The ads point out that this merger would give Comcast control over 60 percent of the cable-TV market and more than half of the high-speed broadband service in the United States. Comcast already owns extensive programming through its previous merger with NBC Universal, as well as regional sports networks and other video content. This latest merger would give Comcast more control than ever over key programing, along with the “pipes” to deliver those programs into American homes.

Comcast’s greater national dominance would give it tremendous power to dictate what programs are offered to consumers and make it harder for Internet-based companies and other services to even attempt to compete with Comcast. The impact of this merger would be felt nationwide, far beyond Comcast’s disgruntled customer base.

The FCC recently did the right thing by adopting strong rules to keep the Internet open. Now it needs to stop Comcast’s domination plan and reject this merger.

For more information about our campaign in opposition to the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, visit HearUsNow.org.

This feature is part of a regular series by Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. The nonprofit organization advocates for product safety, financial reform, safer food, health reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


Read other installments of our Policy & Action feature.


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