Chairman Rockefeller Remarks on Consumers, Competition, and Consolidation in the Video and Broadband Market

March 11, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—We are here today to discuss consumers, competition, and consolidation in the video and broadband markets.

These are services that are vital to our democracy. They shape the way we communicate. They shape the way we share news and information. They shape the way we entertain ourselves and the way we spend our free time.

When consolidation occurs in these markets, we need to pay attention.

When companies swell to include both content and distribution, we need to pay attention.

Because it is vitally important that when we have mergers in these markets, consumers cannot be left with lesser programming and higher rates.

So today we are going to talk about these issues.

This hearing is an opportunity to have a serious discussion about consumers—how consolidation affects their lives directly and what we can do to make sure they are absolutely protected.

We begin our first panel with authorities from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

We know they take their jobs seriously. So we respect that while the Comcast-NBC merger is pending they are limited to discussing only the process, rather than the substance of this merger. 

But we look to you to frame our discussion, which we will continue with the private sector witnesses on our second panel.

Thank you to all of our witnesses for being here today. Now let’s get started.