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ACA Seeks More Time to Vet Comcast-NBCU Documents

The American Cable Associaton has asked the FCC for more time to review documents from Comcast and NBC Universal filed as part of their effort to get FCC approval of their $30 billion joint venture.

Bloomberg LP has asked the FCC for a 45-day extension of its June 21 deadline for commenting on the deal or filing a petition to deny it. ACA said it agrees with Bloomberg about the difficulty of vetting the documents by the June 21 deadline, but did not ask for an extension of that deadline.

Instead, in a letter to Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, ACA asked that the FCC allow commenters to raise new issues or supplement arguments based on the information filed by the companies on June 11.

The FCC has said that it would not accept new arguments or the raising of new issues past that initial June 21
comment deadline, but it also said that parties would have up to 15 days to comment on new facts. ACA wants it to reconcile that language with the fact of that June 11 data drop and the June 21 drop-deadline for initial arguments, preferably by making it a 60-day response window.

ACA says that 60-day window should not open until the companies have certified that the data has been made available in an accessible format to eligible parties.

ACA says it complained two weeks ago about its ability to meet the June 21 deadline "in light of the fact that the Applicants have not produced data and information responding to the Commission's requests in a format that is easily accessible to parties to the license transfer review proceeding." It reiterated that complaint Wednesday.

"This clarification, based on the practical and logistical difficulties associated with accessing and analyzing vast amounts of data in a short period of time, is consistent with the Commission's desire that all substantive issues regarding the Application be considered in as timely and efficient a manner as possible that is fair to Applicants, interested parties and the Commission itself.

According to Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice, the company planned to file its own ex parte comment in response Wednesday and plans by the end of the day to provide the data "in the format that ACA requested." If so, that would mean ACA is asking that the FCC consider new issues and arguments through mid-August.