Ever since Comcast announced plans to merge with Time Warner Cable in February, all eyes have been on the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department, which are charged with reviewing the plan. But some states are taking a close look too and this week New York held a series of hearings on the deal.
New York Governor Cuomo announced in May that the state planned to do a “hands on review” of the proposal and a new state law gives the Public Service Commission new authority to do just that. Under the law, the PSC must determine that the cable merger provides a net positive public benefit, just as mergers involving gas and electric company mergers currently are required to do.
This past week, the PSC held public hearings on the merger in three cities across the state. Consumers Union’s Delara Derakhshani testified at the hearing in New York City and called on the PSC to turn it down. She noted, “It is hard to see how combining two companies that already have a poor track record with consumers would somehow improve the situation for customers here in New York or anywhere else. To the contrary, combining these two companies would give the merged entity an even larger national presence, more market power, and less incentive to provide good customer service.”
If the New York PSC determines that the merger fails to benefit the public, the deal could be blocked within the state. While that wouldn’t stop the merger nationally, it could undermine the deal and put added pressure on the FCC to turn it down too.
Let’s keep up the pressure! New Yorkers can weigh in by sending comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-335-2120. Tell the PSC to say “No” to this mega merger!