The mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider the impact of the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, warning that the company would be too powerful and would have no incentive to provide good services to consumers.
Raising concerns over the merger, which was agreed for a fee of $44bn in February, in a letter to Thomas Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, De Blasio commented that New Yorkers in the technology, media and advertising industries were concerned for the livelihoods in light of the shadow cast by the deal.
De Blasio said: “For the tech sector, access to affordable broadband is essential. Seamless day-to-day operation requires dependable, high-speed service.
“Tech leaders have expressed concern that as Comcast acquires even greater market share, it will have reduced incentive to respond to customer concerns, such as those relating to discrepancies between promised and delivered bandwidth. This is alarming given both Comcast’s and Time Warner Cable’s already poor customer satisfaction ratings.”
He added: “The transaction threatens not only to give Comcast unprecedented influence over broadband, but also to vastly expand the company’s influence over cable advertising. If the merger is approved, Comcast will enjoy 80 per cent control of National Cable Communications, the firm through which all national cable advertising is placed.”
De Blasio is largely alone in his criticism of the deal however with over 50 American mayors backing the merger which is yet to be approved by US regulators. They may choose to block the deal as it would see group take in an audience reportedly seven times bigger than its nearest rival.
However, its not all good news for Comcast - last month it suffered a heavy blow after both HBO and CBS announced they were to jump ship to offer consumers less-expensive access to their content libraries online with a subscription service.