WASHINGTON, April 15 U.S. regulators should
approve the proposed $45.2 billion merger of two biggest U.S.
cable providers Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc
, but set "clear conditions," Washington Post's editorial
board said on Tuesday.
Public interest groups and some lawmakers have opposed a
merger, saying it would allow Comcast to raise cable television
rates and gain more power over what Americans watch on TV or
In Tuesday's newspaper, the newspaper's editorial board said
these concerns were not enough for the Federal Communications
Commission to "take the severe step" of blocking a deal, but
warranted conditions "that allow a crackdown" if cable companies
begin to treat competitors and upstarts unfairly.
"The government's smartest move is not to block the merger,
but to make clear that regulators will respond if big industry
players begin to violate basic principles of market fairness,"
the editorial said.
The FCC will determine whether the merger is in the public
interest and the Justice Department must decide whether it
complies with antitrust law.
Comcast last week laid out the arguments in favor of its
deal in a lengthy public interest filing at the FCC and then at
a congressional hearing.
The company has said its business faces powerful competitors
like Google Inc or Apple Inc, and
has stressed that Comcast and Time Warner Cable do not directly
compete in any market.
The Washington Post laid out some arguments for and against
the deal and concluded that the foggy outlook for the future of
communications and entertainment "recommends a degree of
regulatory caution." (Read the editorial here: wapo.st/1hQFUxl )
More than 50 consumer advocacy groups and Democratic Senator
Al Franken, a vocal critic of media concentration, oppose the
merger. Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts has met
with newspaper editorial boards to press his case.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh, editing by Ros Krasny and David