Could Cable TV Rates Soar? [AUDIO]
Consumer advocates are worried the pending deal between the nation's top two cable TV companies could lead to higher cable rates and poor service for consumers in New Jersey.
Under the deal, Comcast Corp. would buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion. If approved by federal regulators, the move would make Comcast a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes.
"We see that when these mergers happen, they (customers) get pushed into purchasing packages that they really don't want, and they don't need, and in many instances, they really can't afford," said Phyliss Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action.
In New Jersey, some municipalities are only served by a single cable provider.
While some observers think the merger might help the cable TV industry at a time when they are struggling to retain customers, Salowe-Kaye said agencies beyond the Federal Communications Commission should monitor the industry. "So we need to have something like the (New Jersey) Board of Public Utilities look at rates, look at services, look at customer satisfaction."
Salowe-Kaye believes too much of the affairs of large cable operations are being left to the discretion of the companies themselves.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable are expected to save $1.4 billion in annual costs over three years, with half of that realized in the first year.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)