Franken's Campaign Against Comcast Is No Joke

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — one of the leading opponents of Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable — stood up for the millions of people in Minnesota and across the country who are facing rising cable and Internet costs. He called the deal bad for consumers, saying it would stifle competition and likely lead to higher costs for Minnesotans who are already being squeezed financially.

"There's no doubt that Comcast is a huge, influential corporation, and I understand that there are over 100 lobbyists making the case for this deal to members of Congress and our staffs," said Sen. Franken during his questioning. "But I've also heard from over 100,000 consumers who oppose this deal, and I think their voices need to be heard too."

Later, he added, "I believe this deal will result in fewer choices, higher prices, and even worse service for my constituents."

Sen. Franken has fought against Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable since it was announced earlier this year.When the proposal was first announced in February, he wrote to several top federal regulators and asked them to carefully scrutinize the deal, raising concerns that concentrating more market power in the hands of fewer companies will stifle competition and leave consumers with fewer choices and higher prices.

Sen. Franken has also pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take into account Comcast's history of violating certain consumer protection measures, including the conditions imposed on Comcast by the FCC after it acquired NBC-Universal.

And last month, Sen. Franken said that if the deal goes through, it could harm the open nature of the Internet. Comcast's net neutrality obligations, which were put in place by the FCC after the company's acquisition of NBC Universal in 2011, are set to expire in 2018, and Sen. Franken is concerned about what will happen at that point—especially if this deal with Time Warner Cable is approved.

In addition, Sen. Franken has pointed out that this deal raises serious questions about interconnection, which is the process by which content flows from providers, like Netflix, through cable companies, like Comcast, and finally to consumers. Sen. Franken is concerned that this deal would give Comcast enough power to act as a gatekeeper for traffic on the Internet.

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