On March 5, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the first net-neutrality bill in the nation, making Washington state a leader in open and equal access to the internet. This law is in response to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) vote last December to gut U.S. rules that are meant to prevent broadband companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.
I am writing about a somewhat related, and equally important, matter: the proposed acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. It is impossible to assess the AT&T / Time Warner merger without taking into consideration the impact that the Trump Administration FCC’s proposed net neutrality rollback would have.
Combining these behemoths would create a mega-media conglomerate with both the incentive and the ability to favor its own content over that of other entertainment companies and to restrict competing video distributors from accessing that content, harming its competitors and ultimately consumers.
Allowing one giant company like a combined AT&T / Time Warner to control the content available to Americans would threaten the basic principles of our democracy, especially given Time Warner’s ownership of key information sources like CNN.
Please urge our state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to oppose the proposed AT&T / Time Warner merger and ensure that our state remains a leader in open and equal access to the internet.