After independently sending scathing anti-merger letters to the FCC for months, a group of pay-TV companies, programmers, labor unions and public interest groups have banded together to form the "Stop Mega Comcast" coalition.
Meant to deter regulators from approving Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), the group is spearheaded by non-profit advocacy group Public Knowledge and includes Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Glenn Beck's TheBlaze as members. Other denizens include the Writers Guild of America and the socially conservative Parents Television Council.
The group claims that the combined companies would control 50 percent of broadband usage in the U.S. (a figure Comcast says is more like 35 percent).
"This unprecedented market power will position Mega Comcast as the gatekeeper to half our nation's broadband homes and also telecom markets such as local cable advertising, programming and pay TV, Latino, as well critical information gateways such as set-top boxes and streaming devices," the coalition said in an introductory manifesto.
"Combining its increased cable and broadband market power with its ownership of NBCU, Mega Comcast will have the incentive and ability to stifle competition across these markets," the post adds. "All of this will harm, or even destroy, competing companies, and ultimately result in fewer choices, higher prices, less innovation and worse service for consumers across the country."
Separately, the Federal Communications Commission has restarted the "shot clock" on reviews of the Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV mergers. The FCC haulted the 180-day timeline on its regulatory reviews in early-October to mull weather contracts involving programmers and pay-TV operators could be publicly shared.
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