A new group called StopMegaComcast is out to stop Comcast’s $US45 billion deal to purchase Time Warner Cable, which was announced in February.
The StopMegaComcast coalition, which was officially announced on Wednesday, is made up of 15 groups that have previously come out against the deal.
Members include Comcast competitor Dish Network, as well as interest groups like The Consumer Federation Of America and the Parents Television Council.
StopMegaComcast tries to spell out exactly how big Comcast would be were it to succeed in its acquisition bid. The group asserts that Comcast would “control 50% of the high-speed broadband market,” and thus “serve as the gatekeeper of the Internet.” It would also control 44% of all regional sports networks and 20-plus cable channels, as well as NBC-Universal, which is owned by Comcast.
“Those who want their content to flow quickly and freely will have to submit to Mega Comcast’s terms,” the coalition says on its website. “Those that compete with Mega Comcast or refuse its demands could be slowed down or shut out. Mega Comcast would have the power and the incentive to increase their prices at the expense of consumers, content creators and innovation.”
The group also claims Comcast and Time Warner combined would “reach more than 91% of Latino households,” effectively controlling the programming in those markets and communities, and it would also seize 71% of the local advertising market, which the group claims is critical for small businesses.
In all, StopMegaComcast says Comcast and TWC — which would have substantial control in the broadband, pay-TV, set-top box and local ad markets — would raise prices and costs for consumers, small businesses, and content creators.
Comcast, for its part, has long argued that a merger would have an opposite effect. Here’s what a Comcast spokeswoman had to say:
Hundreds of community organisations, programmers, lawmakers and diversity groups have praised the pro-consumer benefits of this transaction. It is no secret that some companies that want billions of dollars in higher fees for consumers are paying lobbying firms to organise against this transaction.
But many companies, particularly those represented by StopMegaComcast, believe a deal would indeed be bad for consumers, and they don’t believe it can be easily fixed with a Band-Aid. Jeffrey Blum, deputy general counsel for Dish Network, told Re/code in July that all possible merger conditions “are inadequate.”
“The breadth and detail of the opposition is significant,” Blum said.
If you want an idea of how “substantial” the opposition to this merger is, check out StopMegaComcast’s full list of congresspeople, consumer advocates, telecom organisations, and academics that have expressed concern over the Comcast-Time Warner Cable acquisition.
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