Quoted: on Comcast, Time Warner and bullies

“We’re all the people of Fort Lee, New Jersey, trying to get on the George Washington Bridge. There’s a bully narrowing our access to the world whose interests aren’t aligned with ours.”

Susan Crawford, visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, compares the proposed $45 billion Comcast purchase of Time Warner Cable to the scandal surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. She’s not the only one using the bully analogy. “If Comcast takes over Time Warner Cable, it would wield unprecedented gatekeeper power in several important markets. It is already the nation’s largest ISP, the nation’s largest video provider, and one of the nation’s largest home phone providers. It also controls a movie studio, broadcast network, and many popular cable channels. An enlarged Comcast would be the bully in the schoolyard,” said John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney for consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. The deal would merge the top two U.S. cable companies and is pending regulatory approval. The two companies say there’s no customer overlap; Crawford says: “That’s because they long ago clustered their operations and divided markets: Where consolidation is possible, competition is impossible.”

 

Photo of Comcast vehicle from Associated Press archives

 

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