Giant cable companies should not be permitted to grow larger. Further
consolidation in the cable industry is a clear violation of horizontal ownership
rules that must be re-established to serve the public interest.
The concentration of power and control over distribution of media is a
growing problem in this country. Though we have more channels available
than ever before, they are under the operation of a handful of giant
If Comcast and Time Warner are allowed to merge with Adelphia, the two
companies will control nearly 50 percent of the national market. This level of
concentration in the cable industry will lead to higher consumer rates and
lower quality service.
Since passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the
\"deregulation\" of cable, consumers have seen their rates jump an average
of 59 percent -- with some areas experiencing even more dramatic increases.
We are required to buy channels we don\'t want or need because the cable
operators bundle them together. The quality of customer service often
reflects the fact that cable television is not a competitive market.
Meanwhile, the cost of cable modem service remains out of reach for many
households, holding constant for years and selectively underserving rural and
low-income Americans. The American people are watching the digital divide
widen even as the need for access to high-speed networks increases.
Cable companies have become less responsive to the needs and
requirements of communities. The quality of public accountability in local
franchise agreements has declined, as big companies leverage their power to
squeeze local governments.
In many communities, the truly independent sources of local news,
information and culture come from the public channels produced at the local
access centers. Unfortunately, local channels lack the resources to produce
the programming that citizens want and need.
The last thing we need is to reward the anti-competive actions of cable giants
by permitting greater consolidation in ownership, reducing competition, and
encouraging more of the same.