Comcast’s Cohen, AT&T to Perform Pro-Merger Duet in D.C. Today

A Senate committee will hear why AT&T should get to buy DirecTV while Comcast scarfs up Time Warner Cable.

Just ahead of the end of the FCC’s comment period on net neutrality on Friday, Comcast executive VP David L. Cohen and AT&T chief strategy officer John Stankey are scheduled to appear before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee this afternoon to talk up their companies’ respective $45.2 billion (Time Warner Cable) and $48.5 billion (DirecTV) merger offers.

This is the third merger sales call Cohen has made to Washington since the proposed TWC deal was announced in February. It doesn’t help, of course, that basically the whole world opposes it. Perhaps the company hopes that it will seem a good sport by appearing with AT&T — a competitor that has tried to put a shine on its own DirecTV proposal by claiming that the merger would benefit consumers by forcing cable companies like Comcast to lower their rates.

Expect a representative from Dish to add a discordant note or two to the proceedings. Says the Inquirer:

Dish, the nation’s second-largest satellite-TV operator, wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission last week that it opposes the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal because “there do not appear to be any conditions that would remedy the harms that would result.”

Dish argues that a merger of the nation’s largest and second-largest cable companies would result in three “choke points” on the Internet: in the wire leading into homes, the interconnection of different networks on the backbone of the Internet, and specialized channels that can deliver Internet traffic in fast or slow lanes.