Senator Al Franken tries recruiting Netflix to oppose Comcast, Time Warner Cable merger

By Jeffrey Rindskopf,

Minnesota's democratic Senator Al Franken has become one of the most vocal opponents of the pending merger of cable provider giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Now, he's hoping Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will speak out against a merger he says will hurt competition in online and cable television providers.

According to BGR, Franken sent a letter to Hastings on Wednesday asking him or his company to weigh in on the merger and expressing his concerns that Comcast might become a sort of gate keeper for traffic on the internet and beating out new competition.

"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 wrote. “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 Variety notes, Netflix recently came to an agreement with Comcast to resolve streaming issues over the cable provider. Netflix has also complained about fees they're forced to pay Comcast for streaming services, making them rife for criticizing the merger.

Comcast CEO David L. Cohen has dismissed the allegations that his company would throttle internet traffic or unfairly strike down competition. However, it seems the merger might force streaming services to pay cable providers, letting said cable providers choose which streaming services are widely available.

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