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Home-State Governors Give Comcast/NBCU Thumbs Up

A trio of governors whose states benefit from the businesses of Comcast and NBC Universal have asked the FCC to approve the merger.

"We write in strong support of Comcast and General Electric to create a joint venture in which Comcast will assume control of and management of NBCU, wrote Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and David Paterson of New York.

They make no secret of their parochial interest in the deal, leading of the letter by pointing out that their states are the ones where the companies have "the most substantial business presence."

But they point out that a lot of other states have an interest in the two companies' success, citing 130,000 jobs in 40 states and D.C.

While they recognize the FCC has to vet the deal, they also ask it to move swiftly and without "extraneous conditions," on a deal whose benefits they argue "outweigh any potential harms."

The commission has requested data from both companies as it prepares to re-start its informal 180-day shot clock on the merger review. It has also hired an outside executive to manage the process, which was stopped on day 29, in part to let commenters take into account the BitTorrent decision calling into question the FCC's authority to regulate broadband. Access to online content is one of the issues the FCC is looking at in reviewing the deal, at least if the data it asked for last week is any indication.