Cohen heads to Washington again to make case for merger

Comcast's David L. Cohen has said the merger would lead to improved service.

Comcast Corp.'s David L. Cohen will testify in Washington on Wednesday for the third time regarding the cable-TV giant's proposed $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc., this time before the Senate Commerce Committee.

The hearing, titled "At a Tipping Point: Consumer Choice, Consolidation and the Future Video Marketplace," is to include testimony by AT&T Inc. executive John Stankey.

AT&T operates one of the nation's largest wireless phone networks and offers U-Verse TV and Internet. It has proposed acquiring DirecTV for $48.5 billion.

DirecTV is the nation's largest satellite-TV operator.

This will be the first time that Comcast and AT&T will testify to lawmakers at the same hearing, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Dish Network Corp.'s Jeffrey Blum, a senior vice president and deputy general counsel, also will speak at the hearing.

Dish, the nation's second-largest satellite-TV operator, wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission last week that it opposes the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal because "there do not appear to be any conditions that would remedy the harms that would result."

Dish argues that a merger of the nation's largest and second-largest cable companies would result in three "choke points" on the Internet: in the wire leading into homes, the interconnection of different networks on the backbone of the Internet, and specialized channels that can deliver Internet traffic in fast or slow lanes.

Shawn Ryan, a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, will be part of the panel, as will Gene Kimmelman, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit group Public Knowledge.