Washington

Comcast's Roberts Meets With Commissioners To Urge Deal Approval

Chairman had meetings with reps of three commissioners most likely to vote in favor of merger 1/10/2011 11:53:29 AM Eastern

Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts had separate meetings last week
with representatives of the three commissioners most likely to be the securest
votes for approval of the Comcast/NBCU merger.

According to an ex parte filing, Roberts on Jan. 6 met with the
two Republican Commissioners, Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker,
as well as Ed Lazarus, chief of staff to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, to
urge the FCC to approve the merger.

On
the same day, Kathy Zachem , Comcast VP, regulatory and state affairs, met with
a top media advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Copps is a
veteran media consolidation critic who continues to have issues with the deal,
according to an aide, including with its impact on small cable operators,
local news and online access conditions.

The
FCC's transaction team has proposed conditions meant to address those,
but Copps is looking for something stronger than Comcast's voluntary
efforts, according to an aide. Zachem pitched those public promises to
Copps' office last week, including its recent promises to boost broadband
deployment and community news, as well as an earlier commitment to add 10
new independent channels.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has already circulated a
draft approval that Comcast has signaled it could live with, while the two
Republicans will almost surely approve the deal, thought they could dissent on
some of the conditions, particularly a network neutrality condition in the
draft said to be stronger than the new FCC rules from which McDowell and Baker
strongly dissented.

The commissioners continue to vet the draft, according aides.

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