Sen. Franken: Cable merger will ‘hurt consumers’

The junior senator from Minnesota discusses with CNN’s Jake Tapper the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Comments (16)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/14/2014 - 10:49 am.

    Franken goes on record

    defending Obamacare and MNsure.

    Cable TV is an antiquated technology. Switch to DirectTV and it won’t matter if the remaining dying cable TV companies happen to merge.

  2. Submitted by sergei shvetzoff on 02/14/2014 - 12:25 pm.

    Al Who?

    Does he really exist. Since being elected he is absent from MN. Just taking up critical space.
    We need a Senator that works.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/14/2014 - 01:33 pm.

      Unless my memory is bad,

      we, the citizens of Minnesota elected him to work in Washington for 6 years. Do you think he can be in two places at once?

      We have two of the most intelligent Senators currently working in Washington. You should be proud to be represented by people who know how to research something and get a job done.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/14/2014 - 03:51 pm.

        Intelligent?

        Al Franken opposes the merger because he said it’s not good for the consumer. That preventing Comcast and Time Warner from merging gives the customer more choices.

        That’s nonsense! Every community in the country allows only a single cable company to operate within its borders. You don’t get a choice! And it’s because of *government* that such a monopoly exists!!

        Anyone who doesn’t know that can’t be considered “intelligent.”

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 02/16/2014 - 09:08 am.

          Truly a stupid

          Comment. Cable companies have set up these regional monopolies. Govt has to stop it with regulations just like electricity and gas. And directv is more expensive joke esp in snow and rain – clueless

        • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 02/16/2014 - 03:10 pm.

          I’m looking at the larger picture

          He doesn’t dismiss science out of hand like Conservatives do. He researches issues and has the intellectual capacity to learn, something that the Right has a hard time with.

  3. Submitted by jason myron on 02/14/2014 - 01:14 pm.

    Until it happens

    and the rates at DirecTV skyrocket. My account increased yet another five bucks this month…how about yours? Satellite is far from a bargain, nor is it new technology.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/14/2014 - 03:00 pm.

    Franken DOES Spend Most of each Congressional Session in WA

    Big surprise.

    Between sessions, he’s been back in Minnesota a great deal, but it’s clear some of us frequent media outlets that would NEVER, EVER mention when Senator Franken is at home,…

    nor would those same people EVER attend a Franken event, especially since he has facts and figures in his mind and at his fingertips to enable him to speak factually, with authority and authenticity (and thereby cause to look like fools) those who seek to confront him with talking points and lies they’ve allowed themselves to be spoon fed by weasel news, the GOP, and any one of the Koch Bros astroturf Tea Party organizations.

    What impresses me about Al is that he works on behalf of his constituents, seeking to improve the lives of average people, whereas Norm Coleman, his predecessor, worked exclusively on behalf of wealthy financial interests and banks (who then gave him a very lucrative job as a spokesmodel as soon as he lost the recount).

    As to the merger of two of the nation’s biggest internet providers, I think it’s long past time that the internet, whoever your ISP is and however the internet connects with your house, began to be viewed as a utility similar to the gas company, the electric company and the telephone company. This is the ONLY way to prevent monopolization in the industry from allowing the few companies that remain massively gouge their customers (which they will, without question, otherwise do).

  5. Submitted by Sean Huntley on 02/14/2014 - 03:11 pm.

    This isn’t really about TV

    This is about Broadband access.

  6. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/14/2014 - 03:45 pm.

    We need more competition in the cable industry, not less

    I no longer have TV service from Comcast, but they still offer the fastest Internet in town.

    Starting with full cable when I moved here in 2003, I gradually got rid of the higher tiers as the dumbing down of the content accelerated. By 2009, I was receiving the lowest level of service (local channels plus public access) plus Internet for about $72 a month, of which Internet was billed at $49.

    In 2012, I bought an HD TV and learned that I would be unable to receive HD signals from Comcast without a $10 per month adapter. With some experimentation, I figured out that I can receive all the local channels in HD with just a $30 antenna. When the occasional worthwhile program appears on the cable-only channels, I can eventually either stream it on Netflix or Hulu or buy it from iTunes. Given those alternatives, I cancelled the TV portion of my service.

    Immediately, my bill for Internet alone went up to $72 and then to $75.

    Would this kind of thing happen if there were real competition?

    I know for a fact that many other countries have real competition among their telecommunications companies and as a result offer faster Internet speeds and lower prices.

    Oh, and any cable company that offered a la carte pricing or at least smaller bundles would eat the competition’s lunch.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 02/15/2014 - 09:38 am.

      “Comcast…offer the fastest Internet in town”

      NOT SO in general, although it may be true in particular circumstances.

      The infrastructure is not uniform across the area, so there are limitations in access to speeds that some customers face. In addition, there are Comcast’s policies regarding slowing down the performance depending on the circumstances.

      In my case, I found that the ACTUAL performance of Century Link was superior to Comcast service, AND at a lower cost.

      I am not a fan of either company. Comcast holds its customers in abject contempt, Century Link has a long history of the worst customer service in the universe, and the wireless provider in the city of Minneapolis, USI Internet, is selling even slower service and won’t adjust its prices to the marketplace. So for the time being, I’m a Century Link Internet only customer.

      Put it together with a ROKU 3 box and $8 a month for streaming NetFlix plus a number of other free streaming services (PBS, National Film Board of Canada, YouTube, NHK from Japan, etc.) , and I have absolutely no need nor desire for cable services. Add in an Ooma VOIP device, and you’ve got a package of services at the lowest cost.

      But this poor level of consumer communication services in the U.S. did not have to happen this way. Other countries have made universal and high quality internet services a national priority. Take South Korea, for example.

      from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/internet-speed-united-states-digital-divide_n_1855054.html:

      “For many low-income Americans, Internet access is a luxury they can’t afford.

      Too bad they don’t live in South Korea.

      By the end of this year, South Koreans will have access to Internet speeds that are more than 200 times faster than what most Americans have, and they can have it for just $27 a month, or slightly more than half the average price Americans pay. ”

      Instead, we’ve got a state-by-state and city-by-city patchwork of the good, the bad, and the ugly in communications services. This is what “let the market decide” gets you.

  7. Submitted by Rick Prescott on 02/14/2014 - 07:24 pm.

    Confused

    So, just where are there people choosing between Comcast and Time Warner? Here in Minneapolis, I sure don’t have that choice. As such, it’s hard to see how a merger could hurt me. I’m already as screwed as I can be.

    Well, I WOULD be screwed if I’d never discovered the Roku box ($50) plus Netflix ($8/mo) . That model, if any semblance of net neutrality survives, should kill Comcast, Time Warner, AND DirecTV before too long.

  8. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/15/2014 - 12:29 pm.

    This proposed merger is not about television. As several here have pointed out, it’s about the internet. Because Comcast and Time Warner (who are controlling the content we see on television, and in movies–or aren’t you following that?) know that streaming is rapidly overtaking TV, and they will control it.

    If you follow Franken’s Senate activities at all, you’d be proud to have elected him from Minnesota! Because unlike a lot of the folks in Congress, he understands the complicated issues here, and he’s made it his business to become expert on telecommunications and cyber issues generally. He’s done precisely what a 21st-century U.S. Senator should be doing.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/16/2014 - 09:24 am.

      If you watch the video

      you’ll see that Franken’s primary concern, the reason he wrote the letter to the justice department, is because of TV service and who owns what TV networks.

      He does not understand the telecommunications issues, other than he wants more government regulation and control, witness his embarrassing crusade for “net neutrality” which only would have resulted in more government control of the internet. He’s been on the wrong side of every argument since he’s been there.

      • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 02/16/2014 - 07:11 pm.

        Alright, already.

        “He’s been on the wrong side of every argument since he’s been there.”

        You tip your hand (for the millionth time). It’s clearly not about ideas or actions. It’s about team sports. You wear a red shirt with an elephant logo. I get it. Let me ask you this: Would it even be conceivable to you that a Democrat might have a good idea? How about a mediocre idea worth working together on improving?

        Setting that aside for a moment, it seems like someone so engaged in public free speech would be a strong supporter of net neutrality — without which the nature of conversations like this could be significantly altered.

        Or perhaps it’s that, by your reasoning, any changes would only affect people in direct correlation with the value of their opinions — i.e. the more money they have, the more valuable their thoughts.

  9. Submitted by Jon Lord on 02/16/2014 - 08:16 am.

    Time Warner has the northern communities, Comcast has the southern communities. Both at one time owned what was once Paragon. Why not just let both have access to all communities. The competition would help them both would it not? Right? It’s competition that makes everything better does it not? The problem with them merging is that they then control who gets the best access to the internet. That means if you want to have uninterrupted online time, both up and down, you’ll have to pay increased premiums.

    I’m proud of having Franken in the senate. And by the way, you can eat breakfast with him if you want to.

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