Progressive groups gather 300K signatures to oppose Charter merger plans

A coalition of progressive-leaning nonprofit groups says it's gathered 300,000 signatures for a petition opposing Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) proposed takeovers of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks. 

According to a statement released by Free Press, the groups also included ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Future of Music Coalition, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Open Media, presente.org and Public Knowledge. 

"Together [merged companies] would have unprecedented control over our ability to connect and communicate," the Free Press petition said. "Without any other meaningful competition, they'd be able to charge us whatever they want for our connections. Higher prices would leave even more people on the wrong side of the digital divide — hitting low-income communities of color the hardest."

Most, if not all, of these groups were also active in opposing Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) bid to buy TWC last year. Notably, anti-merger campaigning among Charter's peer group of corporate citizens does exist — Dish Network's dissent has been notably audible — but is not comparable to the headwind Comcast faced. 

The petition was announced last week after executives for both Charter and Time Warner Cable met with FCC officials.

According to an ex parte filing, Charter committed to "providing settlement-free interconnection under its interconnection policy and broadband service without usage-based billing or data caps."

In another filing, Charter argued that the merger will enable it to offer lower prices to business customers and expand its coverage area.

For more:
- read this Free Press statement
- read this Law360 story

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