Minnesota's senators were quick to demand scrutiny of the proposed $45.2 all-stock deal that would merge Comcast and Time Warner Cable, turning the nation's two largest cable operators into one powerful force.
"I have serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America," Sen. Al Franken wrote in a letter to the FCC, FTC and Justice Department. "I urge you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that consumers are not exposed to increased cable prices and decreased quality of service as a result of this transaction."
Franken is concerned the merger could drive up cable rates for many Minnesota customers with no choice other than Comcast for cable service.
Comcast holds a non-exclusive franchise with both Minneapolis and St. Paul, meaning other cable providers can negotiate with the city to provide service, but it's unlikely – leaving Comcast or satellite TV the only options.
Comcast argues that because they don't serve markets that overlap with Time Warner, the merger shouldn't reduce competition for consumers.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced plans for a Senate Antitrust Subcommittee to examine the proposed merger and protect the interests of consumers.
"This proposed merger could have a significant impact on the cable industry and affect consumers across the country," Klobuchar said.