Elizabeth Warren, Other Senators Warn That Comcast-TWC Merger Will 'Stifle American Innovation'

| by Sean Kelly
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Six Senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wrote a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to reject the $45.2 merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Warren and Sanders co-signed the letter alongside Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, speaking out against Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner and asking the FCC and DOJ to block it. All senators are Democrats, with the exception of Sanders, who is an Independent, but self-identifies as a "democratic-socialist."

“Since the proposal was announced last year, we have heard from consumers across the nation, as well as from advocacy groups, trade associations, and companies of all sizes, all of whom fear that the deal would harm competition across several different markets and would not serve the public interest,” the letter reads.

“The concerns about the transaction center on the undeniable reality that the combined Comcast-TWC would be the overwhelmingly dominant cable and broadband Internet provider in the nation and control much of the programming that Americans watch," the letter continues. "With 57 percent of the broadband Internet market and 30 percent of the cable market, Comcast-TWC would have an ability to defeat competing TV and Internet companies and stifle American innovation across the industry.”

According to reports, both agencies have spent 15 months reviewing the proposed merger and have yet to reach a decision. Some officials with the agencies are reported to be considering rejecting it.

“We hope you'll take a stand for U.S. consumers and businesses and reject Comcast's proposed acquisition,” the Senators’ letter concluded.

Comcast released a statement maintaining that the merger is pro-consumer, and would not reduce competition across contrary to concerns.

“The benefits of the Comcast TWC deal are demonstrated and real,” the statement read. “A better video experience — Comcast has twice as much VOD as TWC. Faster broadband speeds — today Comcast's are 25 percent faster than TWC's and we'll roll out faster speeds to more customers. More competition for businesses that economists estimate will save $8 billion for consumers.

"The country's best broadband adoption program for low-income Americans would come to new cities, and even more Americans will get connected for the first time," the statement adds. "These benefits all come with no reduction in competition for consumers. We'll serve less than 30 percent of the video market, and only about 30 million of the 87 million broadband subscriptions in the US.”

Sources: CNN Money, ARS Technica

Photo Credit: money.cnn.com, techcrunch.com