House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)
said Thursday (Jan. 28) he "applauded" the public interest filing
made by Comcast and NBCU as they launched FCC review of the deal, though he
suggested some of his own additional conditions.
"It is clear to me that any merger of this magnitude should
be reviewed carefully," said Conyers in a statement. "Nonetheless, Comcast's
commitment to diverse programming and maintaining the journalistic independence
of NBCU is encouraging. I am also glad to see that Comcast has committed to
maintaining local affiliates, local news coverage and other public interest
But Conyers said he was looking for more, suggesting a
commitment to independent programming, access to sports programming, and
"ensuring consumers still have access to their favorite shows online for
minimal or no cost."
Conyers said he would hold a hearing on the deal sometime in
February. The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee and House
Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee have already scheduled their
hearings for Feb. 4.
Conyers was seconded by Henry (Hank) Johnson (D-Ga.)
chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy. "I am pleased to
hear about Comcast's upfront commitments to preserving competition and consumer
access to programming," said Johnson in the joint statement. "I continue to
reserve judgment on the proposed merger, but the FCC public filing is a step in
the right direction to alleviate concerns about the potential anticompetitive
effects of the transaction."