Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are leading a re-charged opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable ahead of a Wednesday between between federal regulators and Comcast.
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Franken, Warren and colleagues are pressing the agencies that are reviewing the deal to act in the best interest of American consumers by blocking it.
The stakes are huge for consumers.
Comcast and Time Warner are the two biggest cable and Internet service providers in the country. Their union would consolidate huge power in a single corporate entity, controlling nearly 60 percent of the broadband Internet market and almost one-third of the cable market. For consumers, who already have to deal with poor costumer service from their current cable provider, the end result would leave little incentive for a Comcast-Time Warner entity to offer better deals and service.
“Today’s world demands affordable access to high-quality Internet and TV services,” wrote the senators in their letter. “Should the transaction survive the FCC’s and DOJ’s reviews, we believe that Comcast-TWC’s unmatched power in the telecommunications industry would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans — inhibiting U.S. consumers’ ability to fully benefit from modern technologies and American businesses’ capacity to innovate and compete on a global scale.”
The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler follows several reports indicating that both agencies continue to have deep reservations over the deal’s antitrust implications. The letter was also signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats.