December 15, 2014 – By Robert W. Welkos – Although the outcome is far from certain, pressure is building in California for state regulators to reject the proposed $45 billion mega-merger of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC).
The Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), an independent agency within the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), has filed a brief with the commission urging state regulators to turn down the merger on grounds that it would not be in the public interest. “What is at stake here is the future of communications,” wrote ORA attorneys Lindsay M. Brown and Philip Scott Weismehl of San Francisco in their 84-page brief. “If the CPUC approves this merger, we will leap from a broadband Internet access marketplace that already has little or no competition at speeds that most Californians want and take their service at, to a broadband Internet access marketplace that is almost solely controlled by Comcast.” They added, “As with most mergers, once executed, they cannot be undone. Accordingly, the CPUC must take all feasible steps to ensure that this merger not take place.“