Public Interest Groups to Speak Out in California Against Massive Cable Merger

Read the full remarks of National Hispanic Media Coalition here. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have already spoken out against the deal. During today’s hearing at CPUC’s office in Los Angeles, CPUC commissioners and an administrative law judge will hear testimony from members of the public. The commissioners will vote to approve, modify or reject the merger proposal at a later date. The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are also vetting the merger. The deal would create a virtual cable duopoly over broadband access and pay-video services. If the merger goes through, just two Internet service providers, Charter and Comcast, would control two out of every three of the nation's high-speed Internet subscriptions. For many Californians, the merged company would be the only available choice for cable and high-speed Internet access service. The following statements can be attributed to spokespeople for the groups opposing the merger: “For people of color, media consolidation is at the heart of the reason why there are few diverse voices in the content we consume,” said Center for Media Justice Senior Campaign Manager Steven Renderos. “Allowing Charter to absorb the two biggest media markets, New York City and Los Angeles, in two of the most diverse cities in the United States is plain irresponsible. Promises of greater diversity on the airwaves and in the workforce always precede large mergers like this one, yet by all metrics, communities of color still continue to lack fair representation.” “Allowing two of America’s biggest cable companies to combine fails the most basic test: It does nothing to advance the public interest,” said Common Cause Program Director Todd O’Boyle. “Post-merger consumers would still lack choice. Programming diversity would decline. And over-the-top innovation would suffer. The CPUC should do the right thing and reject this proposal.” "The Charter-Time Warner Cable merger would be one of the most damaging corporate takeovers in our nation's history — leaving millions of consumers in California and across the country with skyrocketing rates, fewer options, and even worse service,” said Courage Campaign Executive Director Eddie Kurtz. “Courage Campaign and our over 1.2 million members strongly urge the CPUC and the FCC to have the courage to stand up for consumers and freedom of choice, and to reject this merger without conditions." “The last thing California needs is a bigger, more monopoly-minded cable company. But this merger would create just that,” said Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim. “There’s no reason for CPUC to sign off on a deal that would lead to higher prices and worse services for Californians. We know that’s exactly what this merger would lead to because of the debt load Charter has agreed to take on to finance this takeover. To pay off such whopping debt, Charter would have to use its expanded market power to raise rates and gouge cash-strapped Californians.” “California's economy depends on our communities of color, and if our telecommunications system fails to serve those communities, we're all in trouble,” said Greenlining Institute Senior Legal Counsel Paul Goodman. “This merger could bring higher prices, slower broadband deployment to communities of color, and less media diversity.” “The record of increased media concentration is clear: higher prices, worse service and fewer choices for you,” said Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance. “Post-merger, Comcast and New Charter would corner the market on high-speed broadband access in California. That’s a duopoly. And it’s not competitive in the least.” “A merger of this size and scope would grant an unacceptable concentration of power to Charter Communications, a company seemingly unwilling to fully participate in state and federal programs that could improve access to communications services for low-income residents, detail a real plan to hire a workforce that reflects the communities they seek to serve, or carry truly diverse programming for their diverse audience,” said National Hispanic Media Coalition President and CEO Alex Nogales. “It is offensive that Charter expects to expand into Latino households in California and across the country without explaining how it plans to employ more Latinos in the company, bring more Latino-serving networks to its system, or fully participate in existing programs that could soon help bring communities of color online. Whether it’s for school, work, civic participation or simply connection with friends and family, we must urgently work to close the digital divide. A merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable would be an irreversible leap in the wrong direction.” ### The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications.]]>

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
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