Al Franken Blasts Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Again

Al Franken
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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.

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  1. Bob says:

    Cable tv, the ultimate rip off.. And yes monopolistic, making billions but fined peanuts for non compliance. Here’s the real
    story: the new mandated digital doesn’t “come in” and we’re
    forced to pay more and more for cable we don’t want. Let’s go a step further, add more and more unlimited brain washing advertisements so that there is no show left for use to enjoy.

  2. Bella says:

    My Comcast bill already increased while quality has taken a dive. We needed more competition, not this monopoly.

  3. Bian Duped says:

    if this merger goes through will also take ownership of HBO, Turner , Time Worldwide
    and to be honest seeing better internet speeds in many other countries at half the price shows the lack of innovative follow through via comcast as an isp (bandwidth prices should be going down ) hbogo is only availible for cable subscribers ( please help me understand this) , follow that up with so many people cutting the cord and the possibility of comcast and other isps charging even more money for bandwidth double dipping, customers pay and companies like netflix pay, which basically end up being customers pay twice due to higher prices charged.
    This merger will decimate the internet and any hope of net neutrality in the future.

  4. Michael Anthony says:

    Thank you All Franken for speaking out. I love how Comcast tells us how much it will benefit us. Ha! Watch your Comcast bill. Every quarter, the bill goes up a few bucks. In 5 years, my bill has tripled. We want competition Congress!!!, not a conglomerate!! but Congress won’t do a thing. Comcast has them in their silver lined pockets!

  5. DG says:

    Franken is absolutely right. The FCC should be regulating these companies–not be in bed with them. Indie producers have a lot to lose if net neutrality is tossed out the window.

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