The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

Free Press to FCC: Don't Rubber-Stamp the Comcast Merger


to press reports, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to
approve the pending Comcast-NBC merger with conditions. A draft order
circulated today must now be modified and approved by a majority of the
five commissioners. The merger, which Free Press opposes, would give the
nation's largest cable company and residential broadband provider
massive media power and the ability to restrict its competitors' access
to both Comcast and NBC content.

Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright made the following statement:

"We are deeply disappointed that the FCC is apparently moving to
approve this merger. Comcast's takeover of NBC would have a harmful
impact on competition and consumers, particularly in the emerging online
video market. The conditions reportedly proposed by the FCC chairman
recognize this danger, but we have serious concerns that they will go
far enough to protect the public from this unprecedented media behemoth.

"It is not sufficient for the FCC's conditions to merely preserve
the status quo. Under the merger review standard of the Communications
Act, the FCC may only approve a merger that affirmatively promotes the
public interest goals of localism, diversity and competition. The devil
will be in the details, but we remain skeptical as to whether the
proposed conditions would go far enough to fulfill this public interest

"If this merger is approved, it will profoundly transform our media
system. Comcast-NBC will control one in five television viewing hours,
and it will have a stake in 125 cable channels, film studios, websites
and other properties. Consumers are the ones who will be paying the
price through higher bills and fewer choices, and they deserve a full
and thorough review of the impact of this merger. We don't need another
massive giveaway to big media that leaves consumers high and dry.

"Comcast may be rushing to get this deal done as quickly as
possible, but the FCC should put down its rubber stamp and be sure they
have reviewed all the evidence and reflected on the long-term impacts of
more media consolidation. This is clearly too much media power resting
in the hands of one company, and the five commissioners of the FCC have
the duty to protect the public, promote competition for consumers, and
preserve the free and open Internet. Weak, short-lived conditions won't
do that."

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

(202) 265-1490