DPS Staff Finds No Net Positive Benefits to Comcast Merger, As Currently Proposed

In comments filed August 8, 2014, New York State Department of Public Service Staff concludes that as proposed, the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger lacks net positive benefits for New York.

“CONCLUSION
Staff has reviewed the benefits and detriments of the proposed transaction, both concrete and speculative, and we find that there is no net positive benefit as a result of the proposed merger absent specific commitments and conditions that translate into guaranteed New York consumer benefits.”

Staff’s 48-page comments discuss in more detail the concerns in the listed areas.  

Suggesting that modifications to the Joint Petition of Comcast and Time Warner Cable might save the merger, Staff said

“To ensure the proposed transaction promotes the public benefit and satisfies the Commission’s public interest standard under the PSL, Staff recommends that the Petitioners make certain commitments to mitigate potential detriments and deliver net positive benefits to New York customers. These commitments would address service quality, job retention, universal service, network deployment to unserved/underserved areas and broad infrastructure investment and improvement commitments. With these commitments backed by enforceable conditions set by the Commission, we believe the merger would promote the public interest and should, therefore, be approved.”

The Utility Project has also taken the position in a prior statement that as filed, the Joint Petition does not pass New York’s test for determining if a proposed merger is in the public interest.

See COMCAST TIME WARNER MERGER, and

The public has been encouraged by the PSC to submit comments on the proposed merger. More than 2,700 comments have been received to date, most of them against the proposed takeover.    Comments can be submitted online at the PSC site for the case file.  Comments are requested by August 8, 2014, but will be received until the time of decision.  Currently, action on the merger is anticipated at the PSC’s October 2, 2014 session.

Gerald A. Norlander

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