Senators Ask FCC for Timely Consideration of Comcast Merger
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission asking for timely consideration of the proposed merger between Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable.
The text of the letter is below:
December 11, 2014
Chairman Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
Dear Chairman Wheeler:
In early October, the Federal Communications Commission once again paused consideration of the proposed merger between Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable. We were pleased to see the Commission recently resumed consideration of the merger. While we appreciate your commitment to a full, thorough review, we urge the Commission to act as quickly as possible. We believe the merger between Comcast and Time Warner will produce extensive benefits to the public in terms of jobs and services for low-income households. Also, Comcast has informed us that the merger will provide improved Internet access with no corresponding decrease in competition. The public should not have to wait for these benefits. Accordingly, we urge you to approve the merger as soon as possible.
Comcast currently employs approximately 136,000 people nationwide, including nearly 12,000 people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The proposed merger is expected to create new jobs throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. This will be a welcome benefit in today's economy.
Consumers will also benefit greatly from the merger. Currently, Time Warner offers Internet speeds that are often half as fast as those provided by Comcast and in some cases even slower. Comcast has pledged to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to improve Time Warner's networks, resulting in far faster Internet speeds for millions of subscribers.
We have seen firsthand Comcast's record as an outstanding corporate citizen. Comcast assists 1,200 non-profits through its foundation, serves hundreds of thousands of young people through the Boys and Girls Club of America, and has invested $57 million in training for workers to keep them competitive in today's economy. Additionally, through its Internet Essentials program, Comcast has brought broadband Internet to 300,000 low-income families (or 1.2 million people). Comcast has announced that it will extend this program throughout Time Warner's markets and maintain this program indefinitely.
Comcast has informed us that the proposed merger will produce substantial benefits for the public, and that the company has acted proactively to prevent anti-competitive effects. There is no geographic overlap between Comcast and Time Warner, so no consumer will lose a choice among providers. Also, Comcast has agreed to divest itself of 3 million subscribers so the merged entity will serve less than 30 percent of the cable market-a standard the FCC has adopted in the past. That number falls to just 20% when one considers the full market for television programming, which includes cable, satellite, and telecommunications companies.
In sum, the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner will lead to substantial public benefits: to workers through additional jobs, to millions of consumers through faster Internet speeds, and to the public at large through extension of Comcast's Internet Essentials program and other community service efforts, all with assurances that the merger will be carried out so as to avoid harm to competition or consumer choice. Accordingly, we urge the FCC to approve the merger as quickly as possible.