Upton, Doyle Back Comcast-NBCU Deal


House Telecommunications Subcommittee Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and former subcommittee chair Fred upton (R-Mich.) have added their voices to those supporting the joint venture between Philadelphia-based Comcast and GE's NBCU.

"This transaction presents opportunities that will launch the communications, information, and technology industry into a new era of compeition, creativity and innovation," they fairly gushed in a letter being circulated by fans of the deal. The pair wrote FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, saying that after the commission finishes its review, it will draw the same conclusion about the deal's public interest benefits.

The letter praises the chairman for both the deliberate and expeditious review it has so far conducted. That was an effort to suggest the FCC has already been thorough and allowed for public input and does not need to further delay the proceedings as some others in Congress have requested. "[The deal] has already enjoyed
unprecedented opportunities for public participation and scrutiny, they wrote.

Some members of Congress -- notably members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- have called on the FCC to hold field hearings on the deal before taking any action. But Doyle and Upton urge the chairman to "hold assiduously" to its 180-day transaction clock and "reject any further efforts to stop it." They argue that the FCC's 45-day extension of the public comment period, after setting an unusually long initial comment period, combined with four Hill "public hearings" on the deal, has already allowed a wide range of witnesses to be heard.

The commission stopped the clock last month to collect more info from the companies. Having done so, the clock will be restarted June 3, with still over five months to go before it runs out, though there is nothing stopping the FCC from beating that clock.