Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) again took to the airwaves to criticize the proposed merger of Comcast with Time Warner Cable, telling “CBS This Morning” on Monday that the combination will see customers paying more.
“I think consumers will end up paying more, there will be less competition, there will be less innovation and, worse, even worse service,” he said.
Franken pointed out that he cannot block the merger, even though he has a high-profile platform as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, scheduled to hold a hearing on the transaction later this month.
But he suggested that there is “a little bit of a too-cozy relationship between Comcast and the regulators.” He opposed Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal, but the deal was approved with conditions.
“I sent out an email to folks, to Americans getting their feelings about what kind of service they get from Comcast, and if they think this deal will be good,” Franken said. “I got 60,000 responses, and, believe me, people don’t like their service from Comcast, and they don’t think this deal is going to help them.”
The FCC and the Justice Department will be reviewing the merger. Franken also criticized Comcast for not complying with conditions of the NBCU transaction, contending that the FCC has had to “fine them.” He was referring to the FCC’s $800,000 settlement with Comcast of a complaint that it was making it difficult for consumers to find its offering of affordable, standalone broadband service.
Franken also started to laugh during the interview when correspondent Anthony Mason asked him about Comcast’s contention that the merger with TWC won’t be harmful because they do not overlap in markets.
“I’m laughing because we’re supposed to take great comfort from the fact that this is the No. 1 cable company and the No. 2 and they don’t compete in any market, so they’re saying you should be happy that we have these monopolies and now we’re going to be one company with twice as much of a monopoly,” he said.
Franken is running for re-election this year, and his campaign site has highlighted his criticism of the merger proposal.