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Comcast Praises RepublicanRegulatory Reform Effort

Kyle McSlarrow, president of
Comcast/NBCU, Washington, praised a Republican draft of FCC reform proposals as an
"excellent effort" to codify long-talked-about reforms.]

One of those, preventing the FCC
from imposing merger conditions that were not directly related to a deal's
potential harms or voluntary conditions it could not apply in a general rule,
was widely viewed as a response to the network neutrality condition in the
FCC's Comcast/NBCU merger.

McSlarrow's statement came in
response to a House Communications Subcommittee hearing Wednesday on that draft
proposal, which was circulated by Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

"We have long held the position
that modest reforms of FCC processes and procedures are appropriate against the
backdrop of very different marketplace dynamics and real world FCC decisions
over the last decade," said McSlarrow. "So, we applaud Chairman
Walden for submitting the discussion draft to codify such reforms. The
discussion draft represents an excellent effort to codify regulatory reforms
that have been discussed for many years in connection with proceedings of many
different Commissions regardless of party or leadership. We look forward to
continuing to working with the Chairman, members of the Committee and the
Administration in refining the legislation and ensuring that an appropriate set
of reforms is enacted."

Kyle is former head of the
National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Current NCTA President and
FCC reform fan Michael Powell also applauded the reform effort in general,
though he did not speak to the merits of the draft itself. "We applaud
Chairman Walden and other members of the committee for their work in examining
FCC reform ideas that may promote greater transparency and predictability in agency
decision-making. Given today's increasingly competitive communications
landscape, we appreciate efforts by the committee -- and by the Commission --
to engage in a ‘fresh look' at agency procedures and to free providers from
unnecessary regulatory obstacles that impede the development of new, innovative
consumer offerings."

The wireless industry was on board
as well. "CTIA believes that Chairman Walden's proposed legislation contains a
number of elements that would promote predictability and transparency in the
regulatory process," said the wireless association in a statement.
"We look forward to ongoing discussions with Chairman Walden and his
colleagues about how the FCC's process and authority can be improved and recast
to better fit the realities of the twenty-first century's marketplace."

CTIA member Verizon added its
support, but was looking for even broader change. "The discussion on
procedural reform appears headed in the right direction, and many of the
proposals discussed today would increase transparency, improve efficiency, and
assist in clarifying the role of the federal government in the communications
marketplace," said Peter Davidson, Verizon senior VP of federal government
relations. "While Verizon agrees with the need for procedural reform, we also
encourage Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to continue
looking more broadly at substantive reform of the statutory framework that
governs this important market for consumers and the economy."