With Comcast witnesses set for House hearing, Franken seeks input from CCIA

The House Judiciary Committee has stacked its May 8 hearing list with potential opponents to Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) $45.2 billion Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) acquisition. Meanwhile, one name not on the list, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), is continuing his one-man campaign against an acquisition he says "would concentrate unprecedented power in Comcast's hands."

Franken is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which already held its hearing.

On the House side of the Capitol building, the Judiciary Committee wants to hear from Comcast VP David Cohen--who obviously favors the deal--along with American Cable Association President Matt Polka, Columbia law professor Allen Grunes, Rural Media Group Chairman Patrick Gottsch, Cogent Communications founder Dave Schaeffer, and DeepField Networks President Craig Labovitz, not all of whom see the merger with such rosy glasses.

One name not on the list of witnesses is Franken, potentially the biggest elected burr in Comcast's saddle. The Minnesota senator made headlines when he directly asked Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings what he thought of the deal. Without responding directly to Franken, Hastings later made it clear that Netflix is opposed to the merger.

Now Franken has taken a similar tack in a letter to the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President and CEO Edward Black, where Franken reiterated his opposition and asked the organization to answer three questions:

  • Do you believe that Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable would harm the public interest?
  • What impact will the deal have on competition in relevant markets, and, ultimately, on consumers?
  • Provide any other relevant views, including any thoughts you have about arguments made in the Public Interest Statement that Comcast recently filed with the FCC or in the testimony that Comcast and Time Warner Cable recently provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I understand that CCIA's mission is to foster competition, innovation, and open markets, and that CCIA pursues positions in which its members' interests and CCIA's underlying principles are most aligned," Franken wrote as a reason for seeking the input.

For more:
- Multichannel News has this story
- Franken's office issued this press release

Related articles:
Franken asks Netflix's Hastings to share views on Comcast-TWC acquisition
Washington Post, Free Press take opposing sides on Comcast-TWC merger
Franken rails against Comcast-TWC merger, says media companies fear retaliation
Senators grill Comcast, TWC execs on $45B merger plans