7 Ways the Feds Can Make a Comcast-Time Warner Merger Less Terrible


Source: Wired
Author: Art Brodsky
Coverage Type: op-ed

[Commentary] If the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger must go through, the Federal Communications Commission should impose the seven conditions on the deal:

  1. The combined Comcast has to stop pushing state laws that restrict competition from municipal systems or commercial overbuilders, has to work for their repeal and will not contest any competition. TWC is the most obvious culprit, having fought its battle against municipalities in North Carolina. TWC, Comcast and others work also through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy group pushing anti-consumer legislation.
  2. Comcast-TWC has to establish a fund of, say, $1 billion, to aid local governments in building their own systems.
  3. The combined entity must agree to a stringent Network Neutrality policy. Off the table are the weak-tea rules negotiated by Verizon and Google, and put in place by the late and unlamented Julius Genachowski during his term at the FCC. This time, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, the embodiment of the public interest, gets to write the rules.
  4. No data caps. It’s been proven time and time again that caps have nothing to do with traffic management and everything to do with stifling competition.
  5. If there are to be these ridiculous retransmission disputes, the channels stay on the systems until the issue is resolved.
  6. The company shall not require direct connection to its network. Netflix gets its money back.
  7. Independent programmers get the same treatment as those owned by Comcast and TWC pre-merger.

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