The FCC did not begin its review of the Comcast/NBCU deal
until March 5, according to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
According to prepared testimony for a Senate Commerce
Committee hearing March 11 on the proposed deal, the chairman
said that while the FCC received the transfer application--for NBC station
licenses--and public interest statement on Jan. 28, the company asked the
commission to wait until it had submitted "a supplemental economic
report," which he said the FCC got last Friday. He said the FCC will soon
put the deal out for public comment.
Genachowski said a staff-level review has begun. The
chairman said he has instructed that staff look at past mergers and see
"with the benefit of hindsight, what the FCC did right, and where the
agency could have done better."
The FCC will conduct the review in consultation with the
Justice Department, which is conducting its own, separate, antitrust review of
The chairman could not discuss any details of the review
since it is currently before the commission.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller
(D-W.Va.) said he recognized Genachowski and Christine Varney of Justice could
only talk about process, not the substance of the deal.
The chairman's testimony was primarily an outline of the
FCC's statutory responsibility in reviewing transactions, including insuring
competition, diversity, localism and a "deep respect" for the First