Our field has already chalked up a series of amazing wins in 2015. The FCC’s decision to create strong net neutrality rules and strike down two state-level restrictions on municipal broadband networks each represent the culmination of years of work and inspiring campaigns by a network of MDF grantees, their allies, and the general public.
But the American media and telecommunications industry is still dangerously powerful, and a corporate gatekeeper approach to our most essential communications infrastructure and content production and delivery remains a threat to culture and democracy.
Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable would have created the country’s largest broadband provider, likely serving more than half of the United States. Especially after Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal, this giant company would have both the power and the incentive to emphasize its own programming and shut out alternative voices. And although cable companies no longer directly compete with one another for subscribers, such an enormous additional consolidation of the industry would have made the fight to expand inexpensive broadband access and bridge the digital divide even more difficult.
MDF is pleased that the likelihood of regulatory action against the merger persuaded Comcast and Time Warner Cable to drop their plans. Many congratulations to our grantees for their successful work to oppose this ill-conceived merger.