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Sen. Franken looks to recruit Netflix in his quest to kill the Comcast-TWC merger

Published Apr 16th, 2014 5:10PM EDT
Senator Franken Letter To Netflix

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Senator Al Franken (D, Minn.) has been one of the most vocal critics of the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable and now he’s trying to bring in the big guns to help him kill it once and for all. Franken on Wednesday sent a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings asking him or his company to publicly weigh in on a merger that Franken says will hurt competition for online video services going forward.

“My concern is that Comcast will be able to use its clout in the broadband distribution market to obtain an anticompetitive advantage in the content market,” Franken writes. “Comcast can achieve this by blocking, degrading, raising costs for or otherwise interfering with unaffiliated content that relies on Comcast’s distribution network to reach consumers.”

As part of his appeal, Franken noted Netflix’s recent protest at having to pay regular fees to Comcast as part of a peering agreement aimed at making sure that its video streams maintained a consistently high quality. Franken then invites Hastings or a designee to weight in on a series of questions about the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, including whether it will increase Comcast’s power to charge companies such as Netflix higher fees for peering agreements and whether it buys Comcast’s argument that the market for home broadband services is competitive.

If Franken succeeds in getting Netflix to weigh in against the merger then it will be a savvy public relations move since there is little chance that two of the most disliked companies in the United States stand a chance against the company behind House of Cards.

Franken’s full letter can be read in PDF form by clicking the source link below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.