Consumer Groups Protest AT&T-Comcast

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National and state consumer groups called on federal regulators Monday to
block the $72 billion cable merger between AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp.,
claiming that the deal is anti-competitive and harmful to consumers.

A coalition of 38 public-interest groups filed a petition with the Federal
Communications Commission to deny the merger or assign it for hearing, which is
the effective equivalent of a denial because hearings can drag on for
months.

'It should be straightforward for the FCC to conclude that the merger is not
in the public interest and turn it down,' Consumer Federation of America
director of research Mark Cooper said.

A Comcast spokeswoman declined to comment. An AT&T Broadband spokesman
said the company would stand by last week's Senate testimony in support of the
merger by AT&T Corp. chairman and CEO C. Michael Armstrong.

In other comments, the American Cable Association -- a trade group
representing small cable operators -- asked the FCC to ensure that
AT&T-Comcast continues to make digital Headend in the Sky programming and
other affiliated programming available to small cable operators on fair and
reasonable terms.

And the Progress and Freedom Foundation -- a nonpartisan right-of-center
think tank in Washington, D.C. -- urged approval of the cable merger 'as
pro-competitive, efficiency-enhancing and consistent with the public
interest.'

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