Upton, Doyle Back Comcast-NBCU Deal

House Telecommunications
Subcommittee Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and former Subcommittee Chair Fred upton
(R-Mich.) have added their voices to those supporting the joint venture
between Philadelphia-based Comcast and GE's NBCU.

"This transaction
presents opportunities that will launch the communications, information, and
technology industry into a new era of compeition, creativity and
innovation," they fairly gushed in a letter being circulated by fans of
the deal. The pair wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski saying that after the commission finishes its review, it will draw the same conclusion about the
deal's public interest benefits.

The letter praises the
chairman for both the deliberate and expeditious review it has so far
conducted. That was an effort to suggest the FCC has already been thorough and allowed
for public input and does not need to further delay the proceedings as some
others in Congress have requested. "[The deal] has already enjoyed
unprecedented opportunities for public participation and scrutiny, they wrote.

Some members of
Congress -- notably members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- have called on the
FCC to hold field hearings on the deal before taking any action. But Doyle and
Upton urge the chairman to "hold assiduously" to its 180-day
transaction clock and "reject any further efforts to stop it." They
argue that the FCC's 45-day extension of the public comment period, after
setting an unusually long initial comment period, combined with four Hill
"public hearings" on the deal, has already allowed a wide range of witnesses
to be heard.

The commission stopped
the clock last month to collect more info from the companies. Having done so,
the clock will be restarted June 3, with still over five months to go before it
runs out, though there is nothing stopping the FCC from beating that clock.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.