NYC, LA mayors hammer Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

FCC warned mega-gobble could price citizens out of the internet


The mayors of the two largest cities in America have sent letters to US watchdog the FCC expressing their concerns over the proposed merger between cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC).

The missives outline the issues both cities have with the cable giants and the problems they hope the FCC will work to remedy should it approve the merger.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio noted in his letter [PDF] a number of issues the Big Apple has had with Comcast and TWC in areas including network infrastructure improvements, customer service and rate transparency.

In particular, Mayor de Blasio has issues with the company's Internet Essentials package, which he feels is failing to adequately cover low-income residents in NYC.

"The limits of the Internet Essentials program, the record of its implementation in other cities and the lack of affordable options beyond the program all suggest that low-income residents of New York City and the nation more broadly may not be effectively served by the contemplated merger," de Blasio told FCC boss Tom Wheeler.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Mayor Eric Garcetti is hoping that the FCC will force Comcast to resolve a long-standing feud between TWC and local carriers regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club. After purchasing the rights to broadcast the Major League club, TWC has failed to ink deals with other local carriers, leaving many residents unable to watch their local team.

"As part of its investigation as to whether the merger and increased concentration will serve the public interest, we ask the Commission to examine these types of programming disputes, determine why the problem has not been resolved already, and then ask Comcast to show that the merger would alleviate, and not exacerbate, problems of this sort," Garcetti wrote to the FCC [PDF].

Comcast says it will seek to address the concerns of both mayors.

“We look forward to working with the mayors of New York and Los Angeles as the regulatory review process proceeds," the company said in a statement to El Reg.

"With our transaction with Time Warner Cable, we look forward to continuing to invest in both cities and to bring our best-in-class video product, higher internet speeds, and low income broadband programs to LA and NY."

The letters are the latest pieces of input the FCC has received in its investigation to the proposed merger between the cable giants.

Yesterday the commission received a missive from Netflix outlining the streaming video giant's concerns over peering costs, while CloudFlare expressed similar concerns over network access costs following the merger. ®

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