St. Lawrence County legislators oppose Time Warner Cable, Comcast merger
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11:34 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

CANTON -- St. Lawrence County legislators passed a resolution opposing a merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast at Monday's service committee meeting.

In February Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable announced the companies’ plan to merge.

A letter to customers recently issued by Time Warner Cable said the transaction would take some time to complete, but would “allow us to offer broader and more valuable packages to advertisers.”

At Monday's service committee meeting, legislators said the potential merger of the largest cable and internet broadband companies will play a significant role in how Americans get their information in the future.

The resolution passed by the board said the cost to consumers for internet and cable television access has increased substantially in recent years and a reduction in competition could lead to even higher prices for cable television and internet access.

“In some areas, these companies are the sole source for many broadband and cable television consumers,” the resolution says.

Legislators were also concerned that this merger would negatively affect independent programmers and hinder the development of current and potential future online video competitors.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Potsdam legislator Jim Bunstone and Waddington legislator Jonathan Putney. It was forwarded to state and U.S. lawmakers who represent the North Country.

Joan Gillman, a spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable, offered to answer questions, but was unable to comment on what effect the merger might have on programming and costs.

Gillman was also unsure when the merger would become official.

“The deal needs to clear some federal, state and local franchise regulatory hurdles first,” Gillman said in an emailed response.

The potential merger has also caught the attention of Ogdensburg City Councilors, who are currently considering a renewal of a Time Warner Cable franchise agreement.