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State Hosts Second Public Forum on Time Warner, Comcast Merger

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Albany/HV: State Hosts Second Public Forum on Time Warner, Comcast Merger
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ALBANY, N. Y. -- In the second of three forums, representatives in favor of a Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, spoke before the Public Commission at SUNY's UAlbany campus.

They offered assurances of affordability, quality and availability if the proposed merger is approved.

"If you look at the video product, if you look at the voice product, if you look at the highspeed internet product, in every instance there are things that we're doing, because we've already upgraded that to offer more," said Mark Riley, Comcast Northeast Government Affairs senior vice president.

They promise faster broadband and better customer service, but the thought of combining Time Warner Cable's 2.6 million subscribers with Comcast's 23,000, leaves some feeling uneasy as Judge David Prestemon explains.

"Consolidating companies is going to make one big company that's going to control too much and they're concerned that this will result in higher rates in the future,"said Prestemon.

But Comcast said, not to worry.

They said when compared to companies like Direct TV, Dish and Fios, this potential merger would only take up a small portion of the cable marketplace.

"With this merger we're talking about Comcast having 30 percent of that, so 70 percent is offered by other companies, this would be 30 percent," Riley said.

There were two women from Massachusetts who spoke in favor of the two companies becoming one.

"We serve primarily disadvantaged children and our resources are very limited and Comcast has stepped forward as a good community partner to allow us to provide additional services," said Square One President Joan Kagan.

"I see the merger as increasing the opportunity of doing a larger community investment program." said Eileen Cavanaugh, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke.

Mary Alice Krim of Free Press insists, though, that the money backing this 45 billion dollar proposed merger could be better spent elsewhere.

"If Comcast wanted to provide better service, it could use the billions it's proposing to spend on this deal to bring ultra fast fiber band to millions of existing and future customers."

The next hearing will take place in New York City, June 19, 2014.

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