The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable is opposed by 56% of the public, with large percentages believing that it will lead to higher prices for cable and Internet service, according to a poll conducted by Consumer Reports.
The online survey, conducted in April, showed that just 11% support the transaction, and 32% of participants have no opinion of the deal.
The survey also showed that 74% agree that the combination will lead to higher prices for everyone, and the same percentage believe that consumers will have fewer choices became smaller companies will not be able to compete with Comcast.
Comcast has said that the benefits of the merger would be greater investments in technology and increased Internet speeds, and that the transaction would not remove any competitor from the market because its service does not overlap with Time Warner Cable.
Nevertheless, the Consumer Reports survey showed that 81% were concerned that Comcast’s increased market share would able it to favor its own programming over its competitors, and there were doubts that it would allow Comcast to operate more efficiently and lower its costs. It also showed that 61% believed it would lead to other mergers among TV and Internet providers. The survey was conducted in April, before the announcement of AT&T’s plans to merger with DirecTV.
Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has expressed opposition to the merger. The survey sampled 1,573 individuals, with recruitment quotas designed to approximate a nationally representative sample. More results here.
The survey’s release was timed to a hearing on the transaction before the New York State Public Service Commission.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable also have filed an application with California’s Public Utilities Commission, which oversees cable franchises in the state. An administrative law judge has scheduled a pre-hearing conference on July 2 to determine whether there will be hearings on the proposed merger, as well as issues that may need to be studied.