Comptel, others launch campaign against Comcast merger

A group of trade organizations are teaming up to lobby against the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

Comptel, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, and the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance are launching the “Don’t Comcast the Internet” campaign on Monday.

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The new group will be called the Networks for Competition and Choice, according to its website

The groups represent more than 1,000 companies, including Internet and mobile providers — such as Google Fiber, Sprint and T-Mobile — as well as content providers like Netflix. 

The groups are arguing the proposed $45 billion merger would seriously harm competition and innovation in the market.

They are organizing a phone call later in the day to formally launch the push. The call will include technology and antitrust experts to argue against the merger. 

Comcast downplayed the group’s formation, saying it is composed of an existing band of opponents who are making "refuted" arguments.  

“The real facts remain the same: consumers don’t lose choice in the broadband or video markets,” according to a statement from the company. “Consumers will see real benefits in faster broadband speeds and better video products, and a host of other benefits.  And there are no transaction-specific harms to this merger.”

All three groups have previously come out against the proposed merger and have called on the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to deny the application. 

The deal to merge the two largest U.S. cable companies must be approved by both government agencies before it can be finalized. Regulators must determine the deal is in the public interest and does not harm competition.

The FCC is 126 days into its informal 180-day review period.

— Updated at 6:28 p.m.