Internet and cable giant Comcast has assembled an army of lobbyists to drive through its proposed merger with its second largest cable competitor—Time Warner Cable. But media justice campaigners across the U.S. are determined to stop a deal they say would strike a blow against free speech, media diversity, and access to vital services.
“The grassroots resistance that is rising is formidable,” Hannah Sassaman, policy director for Media Mobilizing Project, told Common Dreams. “Every day more people understand that their access to communicate is an essential function to sustain a dignified life.”
Click Here: los jaguares argentina
Already one of the biggest lobbying forces in Washington, Comcast has added seven firms to its already hefty squadron since announcing a proposed merger that would give them control over high-speed internet access for nearly 40 percent of U.S. consumers and two-thirds of the cable market. In a story published Thursday, The Hill called this a “campaign of shock and awe” that will give the corporation “one of the biggest lobbying teams ever seen in Washington.”
This amounts to over 100 lobbyists on Comcast’s doll, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Several lobbying heavyweights are numbered among this team, including former government staffers, who have direct lines to the political officials and committees reviewing the merger deal.
Last year, Comcast spent nearly $20 million on lobbying, the second highest amount spent by a single company next to military contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation.
“Comcast has shown they will leave no stone unturned to get their way,” Todd O’Boyle of Common Cause told Common Dreams.
“We’ve seen this in the past, when Comcast purchased NBC we saw their lobbying muscle really come out in that battle,” Mary Alice Crim of Free Press told Common Dreams. “They’ve spent so much money getting their tentacles into Washington and extending out across country. They are really investing in that for the long haul to make sure they are ready for deals that come up.”
These expensive lobbying efforts are in addition to the large price of the proposed merger, which would total over $70 billion, including $45 billion in equity and $25 billion worth of debt. According to S. Derek Turner writing for Free Press, “[F]or $70 billion, Comcast could deploy gigabit fiber past every single non-rural home in the U.S.” Fiber, which provides fast internet speeds, is used across Europe.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT