Friday, April 24, 2015

Support the Community Broadband Act

From CREDO Action:

Huge news: Comcast just announced that it is giving up on its proposed $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.1

This is a tremendous victory that shows that when we stand up for what is right and fight back against the big corporations and the rightwing, we can win.

CREDO activists have been fighting this merger since February 2014, just a few days after it was proposed. In total, more than 280,000 CREDO activists signed petitions or submitted public comments against the merger to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the California Public Utilities Commission.

With public opinion supporting them, antitrust lawyers at the DOJ were preparing to intervene to advise against the merger. And then six senators – Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden – wrote the FCC and DOJ strongly urging them to block the merger.

When liberals stand up and fight, we can win. CREDO activists were a huge part of this victory. Here’s what we did to help make this crucial victory possible:

February 2014: Just days after the merger was proposed, Representative Chellie Pingree launched a petition on CREDO Mobilize urging Attorney General Eric Holder to block the merger because it was “not in the best interests of American consumers and threatens the free and open nature of the Internet.” More than 160,000 CREDO activists signed Rep. Pingree’s petition.2

August 2014: More than 106,000 CREDO activists submitted public comments to the FCC telling it to reject the merger because it would “lead to decreased competition and higher Internet and cable costs for tens of millions of Americans.”3

February 2015: More than 17,000 CREDO activists in California signed our petition telling the California Public Utilities Commission to stop the merger from moving forward because it would “create a massive media conglomerate unlike anything we’ve seen before.”4
Just this week, responding to reports that staff attorneys at the DOJ were leaning toward recommending that the antitrust division intervene to stop the merger, another 24,000 CREDO activists signed our petition urging the DOJ to do just that.5

While this is a huge victory, it is important to recognize that it was a defensive one. Grassroots pressure from CREDO activists and others stopped this mega-merger from moving forward, but the cable and broadband Internet industries remain under the control of just a handful of corporations. And Comcast – or one of its rivals like Charter Communications – could soon make moves to further consolidate the industry. All of us need to remain vigilant and work to stop future mergers, as well as look for opportunities to support independent, local and publicly owned media, cable and Internet companies.

Beyond celebrating this victory, one key thing you can do right now is fight for the ability of cities and municipalities to offer broadband Internet access to their residents. There are 19 state laws currently on the books that make it illegal for them to do so.

Senators Cory Booker and Claire McCaskill have introduced the Community Broadband Act, which would preempt these state laws and allow municipalities to compete directly with big cable companies by offering their own broadband service. If you haven’t done so already, please sign our petition in support of of the Community Broadband Act.

Sign the petition: Allow cities to offer fast and affordable Internet access. Click here to sign the petition now.

Thanks for everything you do.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets


Sources:1,2,3,4,5

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