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Competition Subcommittee Chair OK With Comcast/NBCU

Hank Johnson, Chair of the House Judiciary Courts and Competiton Policy subcommittee, has urged approval of the Comcast/NBCU deal by the end of the year.

In a letter to the FCC commissionsers, Johnson said that, after Hill hearings and his discussions with stakeholders, he is confident the deal "will not undermine competition."

Johnson, who is African American, cited the memorandum of understanding with African American groups announced Friday, and other commitments to diversity, local programming and over-the-air broadcasting, and went so far as to say the diversity commitments (which also include ones with Asian American and Hispanic groups) could serve as the "new standard" for corporate diversity.

According to a source, FCc Chairman Julius Genachowski was signaling a draft decision on the deal could be circulated by the end of this week or early next, though a vote would likely not come until early next month.
"In light of my extensive review of this proposal," he said, " I encourage your agency to complete its exhaustive ten-month-long review and approve it my year's end."

"I would not rule out a vote by the end of the year, " said a source close to one of the commissioners, but suggested it was unlikly since on Dec. 17 they had still seen no paper on the decision.