Look for the FCC to get the Comcast/NBCU deal done by week's end.
That is according to several FCC staffers, one of whom also confirmed reports Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts paid a visit to the FCC last week..
It was a busy week as public interest groups and other deal critics pressed Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn for help with various conditions. The commissioners have been vetting the chairman's draft approval, which was circulated just before Christmas.
Comcast had conceded the deal was not going to get voted out until January at the earliest. Justice was said to still have issues with the deal in late December, according to a Justice source at that time speaking on background.
Comcast has agreed to a number of additional conditions in the past few weeks to help smooth the process, including more news and public affairs programing on Telemundo stations, low-cost broadband to low-income families, more children's programming, limits on interactive advertising to kids, online community news partnerships, broadband deployment and more.
The FCC and Justice are expected to coordinate the approval, so look for a decision out of Justice as well that the deal will go through with plenty of conditions, including on access to online programming and network neutrality.
Reports that Comcast and NBCU could close the deal Jan. 28 would give it some regulatory symmetry. Jan. 28, 2010 was the date Comcast and NBCU filed their original merger application/public interest statement at the FCC (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/446407-_Icon_Meets_Pioneer_Comc...), launching what was then expected at the time to be an almost a year-long review.