Groups Call for Adelphia Conditions

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An array of left-of-center public-interest groups is seeking merger conditions against Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. after the two cable giants buy struggling Adelphia Communications Corp.

Comcast and Time Warner intend to purchase bankrupt Adelphia and divide the spoils -- a $17.6 billion transaction that also includes key system swaps design to bolster regional clusters. The deal requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

In comments filed Thursday, the groups demanded several conditions from the FCC, including application of federal program-access rules to cable video-on-demand content and a requirement that the MSOs provide consumers with multiple Internet-access providers or adhere to network-neutrality rules with regard to Internet-content providers.

Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm, filed to deny the merger on behalf of the groups. To the extent the FCC approves the merger, the groups called for major conditions.

MAP's clients challenging the deal were: Free Press, Center for Creative Voices in Media, Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ Inc., U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Center for Digital Democracy, CCTV, Center for Media & Democracy, Media Alliance, National Hispanic Media Coalition, The Benton Foundation and Reclaim the Media.

Separately, EchoStar Communications Corp. told the FCC in comments Thursday that Comcast and Time Warner should not be allowed to dominate access to regional sports networks and called for conditions designed to combat that dominance.

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