March 13th, 2014
It’s no secret that Comcast, one of the nation’s largest (and most loathed) companies, has been looking to acquire Time Warner Cable in one of the larger mergers in American business history. A recent report by both Politico and The Verge shows how Comcast might be going about “greasing” the wheels of the bureaucracy in Washington to get the deal passed.
Politico released a report this week that shows Comcast and their lobbyists have lined the pockets of almost every Congressman on Capital Hill — not an easy feat (though many have no doubt tried). And they have the money. Comcast has been raising it’s prices (without much of a reason) for years, as American cable and internet providers have been out-gaining and charging over international prices for some time.
Why does Comcast need to do this? Every merger deal of this size must pass a committee, and the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) must specifically clear the deal as being “in the interest of consumers.”
This isn’t easy, especially when you’ve operated the way Comcast has for the past few decades. They don’t have a lot of trust, anywhere.
So, it looks like they’re buying it. Amid pressures that Comcast has been throttling Netflix speeds, is looking to gain an outright monopoly in the cable industry, and has been increasing prices unfairly for years, Comcast is naturally looking to help its image with policy makers.
“PoliticoÂ reportsÂ that 15 of the 18 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing on the Comcast deal on March 26th, have taken some form of contribution from Comcast. In the House Judiciary Committee, where a similar hearing will take place, 32 of the 39 members have received some kind of donation. And Comcast hasn’t been shy about its influence…”
The entire episode is troubling because it looks as though Comcast is able to buy its way past the consumer-protection laws and antitrust laws that were put in place for this very reason. The only hope of the consumer in instances like these is official or government intervention, what are consumers supposed to think if the pockets of those looking to protect them are lined by the companies they need protection from?
So it’s pretty obvious how Comcast is looking to get this deal past the FCC. They never could legally, so they’re apparently doing it the old-fashioned way. You’ve been warned.
Emily Torres is an Entertainment and News Blogger for TV and Dish Network.
Categories: DISH & TV news