Washington, DC - As the nation’s biggest cable and broadband provider, Comcast has earned a poor reputation in customer satisfaction surveys year after year. But consumers can expect things to go from bad to worse if Comcast expands its national dominance by merging with Time Warner Cable, according to a new ad campaign launched by Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
The ads are appearing in the Washington, D.C. market beginning in today’s editions of the Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Communications Daily and online at washingtonpost.com. A similar radio ad is being broadcast on WTOP-AM over the next week.
“If Comcast is allowed to swallow up Time Warner Cable, we expect things will get even worse for consumers,” said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union. “Comcast stands to gain more control than ever over the choices consumers have and how much they will pay. This merger is a bad deal for consumers and ought to be rejected by the federal government.”
The ads point out that the merger would give Comcast control over 60 percent of cable TV and more than half of the high speed broadband in the U.S. 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 unprecedented control over key programing along with the “pipes” to deliver those programs into American homes.
According to Consumers Union, Comcast’s greater national dominance would give it tremendous power to dictate what programs are offered to consumers and to weaken Internet-based companies, as well as satellite and other wires into the home, as potential alternatives to the cable monopoly.
“The impact of this mega merger will be felt nationwide, far beyond Comcast’s disgruntled customer base,” said Derakhshani. “The FCC 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.”