Comcast critics team up to block merger

A satellite TV service, consumer interest groups and Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV are joining forces to try and block Comcast’s proposed $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable.

More than a dozen organizations on Wednesday got together to launch the Stop Mega Comcast coalition, as the regulatory review of the pending deal enters the home stretch.

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The group warns that the combination of the country’s top two cable companies will give Comcast “unprecedented power” over the nation’s broadband Internet services.

Because Comcast also owns NBC and its slate of programming, the company will also “have the incentive and ability to stifle competition,” the coalition said, by giving its own products priority over others.

“This much power concentrated in a single entity would be frightening even for the most trustworthy of companies,” the coalition said in an online manifesto. “And Comcast is definitely not that.” 

Dish Network, the Consumer Federation of America, the Parents Television Council and the Writers Guild of America West are among the other members of the coalition, in addition to Beck’s streaming Internet channel.

Comcast has dismissed many of the concerns about its merger with Time Warner Cable. The two companies currently do not operate in the same markets, executives have noted, so no consumer will lose an option for service if the deal is approved.

“Hundreds of community organizations, programmers, lawmakers and diversity groups have praised the pro-consumer benefits of this transaction,” the cable company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It is no secret that some companies that want billions of dollars in higher fees for consumers are paying lobbying firms to organize against this transaction.  This minority of self-interested opponents has used the same tactics in our past deals, and their claims were not found to be credible by the expert agencies.”

Regulators at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are currently reviewing terms of the proposed deal and are likely to issue a final answer early next year.