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FCC Reportedly Pushing Comcast-NBC Merger Without Full Review
WASHINGTON - December 17 - The Federal Communications Commission could be moving toward finalizing its review of the proposed Comcast-NBC merger as early as next week, according to press reports. The FCC, along with the Department of Justice, is charged with evaluating the merger's impact on the public.
Numerous lawmakers, public interest advocates and companies have raised serious questions about the effect of the merger on competition, online video and Network Neutrality. Both public interest groups and industry have pointed out that the FCC’s merger record remains incomplete with regard to a critical question in this proceeding.
Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright made the following statement:
“Reports that the FCC might be nearing the completion of its review of this merger are troubling. The FCC has a duty to ensure that a merger is in the public interest, and it’s clear that this merger would cause serious harms to competition and consumers, including higher cable bills, limited consumer choice and decreased access to diverse voices and independent programming.
"For six months, Comcast has refused to comply with the FCC’s May 2010 request for Comcast’s cable carriage contracts with independent programmers. These contracts are essential to assessing whether and how Comcast limits independent programmers’ ability to distribute their content as a way of preventing online rivals from competing.
“Comcast’s purposeful omission of these contracts leaves the FCC and the public with a deficient record on which to base decisions regarding Comcast’s anti-competitive practices. The Commission cannot make a fair evaluation on an incomplete record, and consumers deserve the agency’s full and thorough review.”