Comcast-Time Warner Merger Would Hurt Municipal Broadband

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[Commentary] Remember Adelphia Cable? How about Susquehanna Communications? Or Renaissance Media? Maybe TCI rings a bell?

These largely forgotten cable company names are part of what was once a broad and diversified cable TV industry, with more than 40 players.

Today, there are four big players dominating the market: Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and Cox. And soon we may be down to just three. In March, Comcast announced it would buy Time Warner Cable.

The US Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will review the proposed merger, which many object to because they say it will create something close to a monopoly in cable service. But the biggest losers if the merger goes through may be cities and towns, who will lose the ability to create high-quality, low-cost, publicly owned broadband services for their citizens.

Partially thanks to Comcast and other cable giant's lobbying, 19 states have already passed laws that ban or restrict local communities from setting up publicly owned alternatives to the dominant provider in the area. Municipalities that pursue publicly owned broadband often cite several reasons for their efforts, ranging from lack of competition and choices in the area to a desire for faster speeds at lower costs.

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Would Hurt Municipal Broadband