Target: Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission
Goal: Applaud the agency’s opposition to Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, which would have given the company even greater control over consumer access to information
To tighten its stranglehold as the world’s largest cable company Comcast was willing to spend $45 billion and buy out Time Warner Cable. Citizen’s groups, nonprofits and prominent politicians from across America protested the merger, which activists warned would stifle innovation and strengthen the company’s monopoly. Consumers would suffer from runaway prices and a lack of competition, they warned. Together with a ForceChange petition urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve access to independent media, this passionate campaign was ultimately successful.
Comcast lobbied the FCC for more than a year hoping to move the deal forward. Previous telecommunications mergers were routinely approved, reports Vox, yet the agency has become increasingly hostile towards such proposals. Comcast assured skeptics that the merger would benefit rather than harm consumers, but regulators weren’t so easily fooled. They requested the scrutiny of an administrative law judge, and the company finally gave up.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was among those to praise the move. “The level of media consolidation in America already is unacceptable,” said the Senator, “and it would have been extremely dangerous for one company to control 57 percent of the broadband Internet market, 30 percent of the cable market and dominate 19 of the 20 largest U.S metropolitan areas.”
Praise Chairman Tom Wheeler and his colleagues at the FCC for hearing the public’s concerns, and refusing to hastily approve Comcast’s dream merger.
Dear Chairman Wheeler,
While Comcast eventually abandoned its push for a mega-merger with Time Warner Cable, sources suggest it only did so after learning regulators would likely oppose the deal. Nearly one million Americans from all walks of life also rejected the merger. To see the deal defeated is a tremendous win for internet freedoms–and one that you and your colleagues at the FCC made possible.
“Giving so much control over our communications system to one company–especially one with a track record of spiraling prices, terrible customer service and blocking Internet content–would be a terrible mistake,” said Free Press policy director Matt Wood.
This merger would have no doubt been disastrous for consumers, given Comcast’s history of unscrupulous practices. Thank you, Chairman Wheeler, for meeting the company’s proposal with appropriate skepticism and helping prevent it from moving forward.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Free Press via Flickr