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Clock Re-Starting June 3 on Comcast/NBCU

The FCC's 180-day shot clock on the Comcast/NBCU merger will restart on June 3, at which time there will be 151 days left until the FCC's unofficial deadline for completing the merger review.

The FCC stopped the clock April 16, day 29 of the pleading cycle, to collect information from the companies on the economic impact of the deal and its effect on online video access. It also gave petitioners a chance to talk about the impact of the BiTorrent court decision, if any, on the proposal.

For those marking their calendars, here are those new dates for commenting on, including petitions to deny, the $30 billion Comcast/NBCU joint venture: June 21 for comments and petitions to deny; July 21 for responses and oppositions to those petitions; and Aug. 5 for responses and replies to all those other comments and petitions.

The good news for Comcast and NBCU is that the clock will re-start. The bad news is that it is an informal deadline that the FCC has missed, occasionally by many months. The FCC itself warns on its mergers page that the timeline "should be viewed as a flexible tool, not an effort to force the review of all diverse transactions into one "inflexible mold," and points out that the clock may have to be stopped and started.