NYC Official Sets Conditions for Comcast-Time Warner Approval

The state has the power to upend the merger.

We’ve told you before how New York State could upend the Comcast-Time Warner merger all on its own. Now we’re seeing how the Empire State could leverage its power.

Capital reports:

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is urging the state to require better internet service, particularly for low-income New Yorkers, in exchange for its approval for a Comcast-Time Warner merger.

In his writing, Stringer cites a number of reports and studies that highlight New York’s poor online accessibility.

For example, he points to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey last year that found 54 percent of adults earning less than $30,000 a year had an in-home, high-speed broadband connection, compared with 88 percent of those making $75,000 or more.”//

In a post at Huffington Post, Stringer says Comcast doesn’t go far enough in serving poor clients:

To date, Comcast’s effort to close the digital divide have focused on its “Internet Essentials” program, which provides internet access to low-income Americans for $10 a month. However, the program’s limited eligibility has kept connectivity beyond the reach of millions of Americans. For instance, the program is not offered to childless couples or low-income individuals.

A recent analysis of customers in Time Warner Cable’s service area found that of the 4.6 million households that earn less than the amount that would qualify them for the federal government’s free and reduced-price lunch program, only 1.7 million would qualify for Internet Essentials.

The PSC should press Comcast to significantly expand the reach of Internet Essentials and to provide a concrete outreach plan to communities that have low rates of internet use.

Other Comcastic headlines:

• SEC Network Scores Distribution Touchdown With Comcast … For SEC football, it’s been “go big or go home”…as evidenced by winning seven of the last eight national championships. On Friday, the conference’s new network also scored a large carriage deal that may open the floodgates for similar deals with America’s biggest cable providers. The SEC Network landed a long-term carriage deal with Comcast, the country’s biggest distributor.  The network will air starting August 14 on Comcast’s expanded basic tier within SEC territory and digital basic outside of it.  The Comcast deal pushes SEC Network’s distribution footprint to 46 million homes, including carriage on AT&T, Cox and Dish Network. (