Groups: Review Adelphia, SusCom Together

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Consumer groups want the Federal Communications Commission to hold up review of the Adelphia Communications Corp. merger until the agency has studied Comcast Corp.’s purchase of Susquehanna Communications for about $775 million, which was announced Monday.

Comcast and Time Warner Inc. are paying $17.6 billion to acquire and divide Adelphia. Consumer groups, along with DirecTV Inc., have complained that the deal would give Comcast and Time Warner Cable excessive market share in many cities, if not entire regions.

In a filing Monday, Free Press, Center for Creative Voices in Media, Center for Digital Democracy and other like-minded organizations said the FCC needed to study the Adelphia and SusCom deals in tandem in order to discern the real impact of Comcast’s effort to rationalize markets, also called clustering.

The groups said they were especially concerned about Comcast’s clustering in the Northeast region.

"The commission must not allow Comcast to break its acquisition of Northeast cable systems into increments small enough to evade effective review," the groups said.

Comcast did not have an immediate comment. An FCC spokeswoman was unavailable late Monday afternoon.

Comcast -- which already owns a 30% stake in the cable operations -- had been the front-runner to buy SusCom’s 225,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine and Mississippi.

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