Court Fast-Tracks Merger Challenge

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Consumer groups scored a procedural victory Monday when a court agreed to expedite consideration of their challenge to the cable merger between AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp. as approved by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of public-interest law firm Media Access Project, which is representing the consumer groups, said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to put the case on a faster track than other suits against the FCC.

Schwartzman said oral arguments would likely be heard by July. A decision would likely be handed down in three to six months.

MAP filed the suit challenging the cable deal on behalf of the Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Digital Democracy.

The groups are protesting the FCC's decision to approve the largest cable merger ever and a separate FCC action that allowed Comcast to keep confidential a high-speed-data-access agreement with AOL Time Warner Inc.

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