Back in November, I wrote about the dangers of a Comcast/NBC Universal acquisition. It’s frustrating to me that a larger light hasn’t been shined on it until AFTER the deal is done. So, what happens now?
Well, it’s still subject to antitrust laws, and that’s about the only avenue we have to preserve an Internet that isn’t under the control of a megacorporation.
Dan Gillmor has a great analysis at MediaActive:
A Comcast-NBC combination is brazenly anti-competitve and anti-democratic. It would give one company far too much ownership over not just professionally produced media but also the ways media consumers can receive it.
Worse, if approved, it could mark the tipping point in Big Media’s push to take control over the Internet itself. That’s where we need to focus our attention.
For an idea of how serious this is, check out this incredible graphic from FreePress.net:
That graphic addresses only the DELIVERY of content. It doesn’t even touch content ownership, which is another problem entirely. As to the public interest, FreePress.net reports:
Comcast has raised cable rates for years while raking in record profits nearly every quarter. It is anti-union. It cares nothing for independent, alternative programming. And if you’re a startup television channel, you can forget about getting a spot in Comcast’s lineup. Comcast will charge you far more for space on its lineup than you could possibly pay. Just ask Al Gore about his failed effort to get his Current TV a reasonable position in the cable lineup.
Let’s not forget that Comcast is the company that was caught illegally blocking peer-to-peer Internet downloads and then lying about it – earning a smack-down from the FCC for breaking Net Neutrality rules. And the company is known for blocking TV ads it didn’t like. The company’s track record of protecting the public’s interest isn’t exactly stellar.
The antitrust laws are the only thing standing between Comcast and complete control over the Internet, both via publishing and pipelines.
Please call your representatives and ask the House to override the FCC by cosponsoring HJ Res 79.
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