Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Two mayors far apart on Comcast deal

Hometown mayor Nutter cheers; Seattle mayor Murray not a fan

Two mayors far apart on Comcast deal

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is cheerleading Comcast's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable, which he expects will boost Comcast's role as an employer and builder in the city's slow-growing corporate core; Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, though elected with Comcast support, has put out a statement critical of the plan and says he'll "reevaluate" Comcast's service in his city. Seattle is considering a municipal or private high-speed Internet network.

1) Philadelphia's Nutter: "I am enthusiastically supporting this acquisition as I believe this is the ultimate triple play – great for consumers, great for the company and great for our city. In the months ahead, I look forward to the conclusion of this transaction and even more economic, employment and consumer benefits that will result...

"Comcast Corporation has emerged as a true media and innovation giant. I am hopeful that the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, after public input and due diligence by various regulatory bodies, is approved. This transaction will provide millions more consumers with increased content and viewing opportunities. As Comcast’s name and brand reaches across our nation, it also enhances Philadelphia’s reputation and prominence as a technology and innovation leading city.

"I want to commend Ralph and Brian Roberts, David L. Cohen and the entire Comcast team. They deserve our gratitude and the City’s appreciation for pushing this great corporate citizen farther into the areas of technology and communications while enhancing employment in our city.

"The new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, which will soar more than 1,100 feet above our growing city, is an emblem and testament to what a smart entrepreneurial team can do to advance a city and state while growing their business, employing more people in Philadelphia and fulfilling the needs of millions of consumers. Comcast has been a terrific corporate partner for our City, and its new investment in the Innovation and Technology Center will bring more jobs to the city along with other companies that will want to be close to this technology leader.

2) Seattle's Murray, who was elected with Comcast's support: (Link to Murry's statement): “I am very troubled by the proposed Comcast / Time Warner Merger. If the merger goes through, the company would control roughly three quarters of the nation’s cable and internet service [Comcast says 30%]. They will also be one of the largest content providers and news distributors in the world. Less competition in these three areas will be bad for consumers, bad for the future of the internet, and bad for democracy.

"While the City does not have the power to prevent Comcast’s $45 billion purchase of Time Warner, we can take steps to make sure competition is stronger in Seattle.

"One step will be to evaluate our City’s relationship with Comcast. The City’s franchise agreement with Comcast expires January 20, 2016. As part of the renewal process, the Office of Cable will conduct a review of Comcast’s relationship with the City. Part of the review process will include a telephone survey of Seattle residents; an on-line survey; community meetings; and focus groups. I strongly urge Comcast customers to participate in this process once it launches.

"If we determine Comcast has not lived up to their obligations, the City of Seattle will not renew the franchise agreement. Democracy thrives when information is readily available to anyone regardless of their economic status. Media monopolies threaten the free flow of information, make competition nearly impossible, and put too much control into one company’s hands. I hope regulators prevent this merger, while I do my part to foster competition in Seattle.” 

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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