June 21, 2010 - NTCA, Others Urge Government to Stop Comcast/NBCU Merger

Arlington, Va., (June 21, 2010) - In a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and several consumer, business and public interest groups objected to Comcast's proposed takeover of NBC Universal.

If the merger is approved, the combined company would include the NBC broadcast network, 10 NBC owned-and-operated TV stations, the Telemundo broadcast network, 16 owned-and-operated Spanish language TV stations, Internet properties, exclusive rights to the Olympic games, regional sports networks, television and movie studios, as well as an ownership stake in a slew of cable channels, including MSNBC, the USA Network and E!.

In the letter, the groups cite a number of core issues that need to be addressed, in particular:

  • The merged entity will, to an unprecedented degree, have the means and the incentive to prevent the success of independent programmers

  • The merged entity will, to an unprecedented degree, have the means and incentives to drive up the costs of cable and satellite TV service for consumers, and undermine competition between video distributors.

  • The merged entity will have the ability and incentives to harm the emerging online video distribution market

  • The merged entity will have an unprecedented amount of power in shaping the media landscape.

"Given the power and size of the proposed merger, it is essential that the FCC and Department of Justice consider the enormous ramifications this merger will have and the threat it poses to consumers, workers, the economy and the vibrancy of our media through diminished fair competition," the groups said in the letter. "In recognition of those threats, these agencies must exercise their authority to protect the public using whatever means deemed appropriate."

In addition to NTCA, the letter signatories include:

Bloomberg LP
Common Cause
Communications Workers of America
Free Press
Media Access Project
The National Association of Independent Networks, NAIN
The National Coalition of African American Owned Media (NCAAOM)
National Consumers League
The Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO)
Public Knowledge
Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086 WealthTV
Writers Guild of America, West

View letter

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The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.