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Comcast OK With Draft Of FCC Deal Approval Order - Broadcasting & Cable

Comcast OK With Draft Of FCC Deal Approval Order

Says it will enable it to operate the NBC Universal and legacy Comcast businesses in an appropriate way
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In a blog posting, Comcast EVP David Cohen said Thursday that the just-circulated draft of the FCC's proposal to approve the company's joint venture with Comcast "will enable us to operate the NBC Universal and legacy Comcast businesses in an appropriate way."

That order includes targeted conditions on access to online content, conditions on access to and carriage of traditional video content, including NBCU broadcast stations, and diversity and localism. The online conditions, which Comcast has expressed concerns about in meetings with FCC and Justice officials, will be narrowly tailored and intended to take into account business realities and the fact that the online distribution market for content is nascent and unpredictable, according to senior FCC officials speaking on background.

"We made a number of significant commitments on day one designed to assure the government and the public that the public interest would be served and these benefits realized," said Cohen, "and we have continued to refine and enhance our commitments throughout the year-long review by the FCC and the DOJ...We will continue to work with the Commissioners so that the FCC Order will not undermine our business combination and will ensure that consumers will benefit and that competitors are treated fairly."

Sources say that the FCC, apparently for legal reasons, will adopt as official conditions some, but not all, of Comcast's side agreements with minority groups and independent programmers, but Comcast has said they are all binding agreements on their own.

"The FCC and Department of Justice have made substantial progress toward approval of the Comcast-GE transaction relating to NBC Universal," said Cohen in the blog. "We are gratified that the FCC Chairman's Office has circulated an Order to the offices of all Commissioners that would lead to approval of our transaction."

Cohen said the company was looking for an "expeditious" vote by the full commission in January. It has already conceded the deal could not get done by the end of the year, even if was voted before the New Year.

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