Comcast exec hails ‘pro-consumer’ merger

Comcast is repeating its promises about the benefits of its proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, as the first round of public input on the deal comes to a close.

In a blog post on Monday — the final day for the first batch of public comments on the proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — Executive Vice President David Cohen wrote that the deal “is pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest.”

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“This transaction will allow us to bring more investment and technology and new services – such as faster Internet speeds, a more reliable and more secure network, net neutrality protection, low-cost Internet access, and programming diversity – to more American homes and businesses,” he added.

“The primary reasons we are pursuing our merger with Time Warner Cable is because it will provide us the increased scale to invest and innovate more in both residential and business services.”

The FCC and the Justice Department are currently reviewing terms of the proposed deal, which would combine the country’s two largest cable companies.

Critics including a slew of public interest groups, and companies like Netflix have opposed the merger, arguing that it would turn Comcast into a goliath that could muscle out competition and charge websites for speedy access to Internet users.

On Monday, 65 organizations including Consumers Union, Future of Music Coalition and Demand Progress sent a letter to the FCC warning that the deal “would inevitably lead to unprecedented gatekeeper control over our nation’s telecommunications and media landscape.”

“It would mean higher prices and fewer choices for broadband users and cable customers,” the public interest groups and content organizations added. “It would put too much control over the future of the Internet and our communications infrastructure in one company’s hands and would negatively impact diversity in ownership and content.

Cohen described concerns like those as “discredited arguments” and noted that Comcast and Time Warner Cable currently do not compete in any market in the country, meaning “no customer will lose any choice.”

Monday is the deadline for the first of three rounds of comments on the proposed deal. Comments in response to the initial batch are due by Sept. 23, and final comments are due on Oct. 8.

— Updated with additional information at 3:09 p.m.