Trade groups, companies and public interest groups are among the members of a coalition that launched on Thursday to pressure regulators reviewing Charter Communications’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable.
The Stop Mega Cable Coalition includes satellite provider Dish Network and industry groups such as U.S. Telecom and rural broadband group NTCA. It also features public interest groups Public Knowledge, Common Cause and Consumers Union.
"They would dominate the market for what you use and how you use it and could tie up consumers in their preferred services,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge.
The group's makeup bears similarities to the Stop Mega Comcast coalition formed in 2014 to stop the Philadelphia-based firm from acquiring Time Warner Cable.
That effort was largely seen as successful. Comcast eventually dropped its bid under pressure from regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. At the time, then-Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderOvernight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Uber leadership sticking by CEO Top Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight MORE called the decision to end the transaction “the best outcome for American consumers.”
Charter's representatives say that critics of the new deal are painting an unfair picture of the company and note that, unlike Comcast, the firm does not have a stake in any national programming interests.
The critics behind the coalition acknowledge that the deals are different — but say that doesn’t matter.
“If Comcast-Time Warner was a category five hurricane, Charter-Time Warner is a category four,” said Jeff Blum, senior vice president at DISH. “It’s still really bad.”
This report was updated at 12:38 p.m.