WASHINGTON, April 7 Comcast Corp and
Time Warner Cable Inc executives will face one of the
toughest critics of their proposed merger when they go before a
U.S. Senate panel this week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from Comcast
Executive Vice President David Cohen and Time Warner Cable
Executive Vice President Arthur Minson on Wednesday.
Comcast, the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, has announced plans
to buy rival Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion. Both are major
broadband providers as well.
On the Senate panel will be Gene Kimmelman, head of Public
Knowledge which is one of the most vocal opponents of the
merger. Kimmelman was at the Justice Department's Antitrust
Division when it approved the merger of Comcast and NBC
Universal and stopped AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile
Comcast's proposed megadeal has raised eyebrows over the
concentration it would give the merged company in key U.S. media
To try to win approval for the deal, Comcast has pledged to
divest 3 million subscribers so the combined customer base of 30
million would represent just under 30 percent of the U.S. pay
television video market. A combined Comcast and Time Warner
Cable would also have roughly one-third of the high-speed
Another witness speaking to the Senate panel is James
Bosworth from Back9Network, an independent golf channel. The
fifth witness is Richard Sherwin from Spot On Networks, a
managed Wi-Fi provider. The sixth is Christopher Yoo, who
teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
The hearing is unusual in that the Judiciary Committee is
holding it rather than the committee's antitrust subcommittee,
which is more common.
The proposed transaction is subject to approval by the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Andrew Hay)