California PUC Commissioner Calls For Comcast Mega Merger to Be Rejected
Commissioner Florio Says Comcast–Time Warner Cable Merger Is Not In The Public Interest; Conditions Can’t Overcome Harm
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – California Public Utilities Commissioner Mike Florio called for the proposed Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger to be rejected today. The CPUC, which oversees telephone and broadband Internet service in the state, is currently reviewing the merger to determine whether it is in the public interest. It will be holding a public hearing on the merger next week on April 14 in Los Angeles and is expected to vote on the deal as early as May.
“This mega merger is a lousy deal for California and the nation,” said Michael McCauley of Consumer Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. “We can’t afford to let one corporation have so much control over our choices and how much we’ll pay to connect and communicate. We applaud Commissioner Florio for adding his voice to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have already called for this merger to be rejected. The CPUC should stand with consumers and oppose this deal.”
In mid-February, the administrative law judge overseeing the CPUC’s review of the merger concluded that it would harm competition and hurt consumers but nonetheless recommended it be approved subject to 25 conditions to make up for its negative impact. Comcast has objected to all 25 of those conditions.
In a proposed alternate decision filed in the proceeding today, Commissioner Florio concludes that the merger is not in the public interest and that the damage it would cause cannot be overcome through a set of conditions. Florio notes that Comcast has a history of failing to abide by conditions in its previous merger with NBC Universal and has already made clear that it would challenge the CPUC’s ability to enforce these requirements.
“California creators, innovators and now regulators are coming to realize what consumers have long known: allowing the two largest cable companies to merge would stifle innovation and choke off creativity,” said Todd O’Boyle, Director of Media and Democracy for Common Cause.
“Commissioner Florio has heard the tens of thousands of Californians who are saying no to poor service and higher prices,” said Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance. “Our state doesn’t need or want the Comcast-Time Warner merger. We agree with Commissioner Florio that there are no conditions strong enough to make this deal acceptable.”
“We applaud Commissioner Florio for having the courage to stand up for consumers and champion the freedom of choice, as Californians face the prospect of an uncompetitive monopoly controlling their internet access.,” said Laura Leavitt, Strategic Campaign Manager of Courage Campaign. “No conditions would make this merger in the best interests of Californians or any Americans, and we hope the rest of the commissioners will vote against it.”
Other groups working to convince the CPUC to reject the merger include Color of Change, CREDO, Daily Kos, Free Press, Greenlining Institute, Presente.org, TURN, and Writers Guild of America, West.
Contact: Michael McCauley, firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-431-6747 (office) or 415-902-9537 (cell)