Coalitions Coalesce To Criticize Comcast/NBCU

Concerns include lack of competition and diversity in media, increased costs for consumers
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NetCoalition, a group representing Google and Amazon.com among others, has joined with the Coalition for Competition in Media (CCM) to push collectively against the Comcast/NBCU merger as currently constituted.

NetCoalition has already warned against what is says is the "litany of threats" to online users from the joint venture, saying the deal puts too much Internet in too few hands, according to NetCoalition Executive Director Markham Erickson in announcing NetCoalition was joining another coalition.

NetCoalition identified the concerns it shares with CCM as "a lack of competition and diversity in media, increased costs for consumers, lack of access for independent producers and creators, and decreased access for fans to watch their local teams."

Comcast has argued that the deal will not raise prices and has struck agreements with diversity groups and independent producers to address some of those concerns. It also argues that the deal represents "no harm" to online video, which it has called a nascent and competitive marketplace.

NetCompetition has been a player in FCC discussions about network neutrality regs and clarifying the commission's online oversight authority, an issue prompted in part by the FCC's finding against Comcast in the BitTorrent case.

"It's been almost a full year since the transaction was announced, and today one coalition funded by a small set of merger opponents is joining another lobbying coalition funded and run by those same merger opponents," said Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice. "As the FCC record demonstrates, by any measure, this transaction affects only a small part of the broadband access market and the online content marketplace. While a small number of self-interested competitors have voiced concerns, the overwhelming evidence in the FCC record shows this transaction will benefit consumers by bringing them more choice and the anytime, anywhere future faster."

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