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Teachout blasts Time Warner-Comcast merger, says she would stop it if elected

Ellen Abbott
Zephyr Teachout says the Time Warner-Comcast merger would result in higher monthly bills for users.

New York state gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout wants the Time Warner-Comcast merger to be on the mind of Democratic primary voters when they go to the polls next month.

Teachout, the upstart Democratic candidate appealing to the more liberal wing of the party, was in Syracuse Thursday in the midst of a whistlestop campaign tour and accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of being subservient to the two cable giants because they’ve contributed heavily to his campaign.

“We are standing outside the offices of Time Warner Cable," Teachout said. "Time Warner Cable and Comcast have been filling Gov. Cuomo’s coffers for years. They’ve given him over $200,000 since his campaign began. And you may have heard, these companies are planning a merger.”

Teachout says if the merger is approved, there will be a concentrated of too much power in the industry.

“Big cable is like the railroads of over 100 years ago," Teachout explained. "And those railroads owned government. And unfortunately, we have a threat of big cable owning government now.”

She says one reason she’s focusing on this particular merger is to show that the people can fight consolidated corporate power. Teachout says if she were governor, she would stop it.

“There’s sometimes some helplessness around that," Teachout said. "Banks are merging, what can we do? Big Ag (agriculture) is merging, what can we do? And it’s very clear what we can do, in terms of big cable. It’s very clear that New York can stop the merger between Time Warner and Comcast. The P.S.C. has the authority.”

Teachout says this deal will hurt competition, and ultimately cost New Yorkers $51 dollars a month more on their cable bill.

“We did an analysis of what will happen with the Comcast takeover of Time Warner," Teachout said. "And Comcast rates are higher than Time Warner. So if you expect this merger is going to lead to better service or better rates, that’s a false hope. It’s going to go in the opposite direction.”

Teachout wants to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary on September 9. Cuomo is heavily favored to win the Democratic designation, as well as the general election.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.