Predicting that the proposed union of Comcast and NBC Universal (NBCU) will bring “consumers across the nation more programming choices over more communications technologies,” the governors of three states in which Comcast and NBCU boast a large corporate presence wrote to the FCC on Monday to recommend “timely government approval” of the $13.75 billion transaction. Meanwhile, a fourth governor—Haley Barbour (R) of Mississippi—cited Comcast’s significant investments in his state in a similar letter that also urges swift FCC approval. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, announced plans last December to acquire a 51% stake in NBCU in a deal that would give Comcast control of two television broadcast networks, cable channels such as CNBC, Bravo, and Oxygen, and the Universal Pictures film studio. As rival multichannel video program distributors have voiced fears that the transaction will induce Comcast to restrict or drive up prices for competitive access to NBC programming, consumer groups have warned that the post-merger entity could charge web users for NBC and other content that is accessed online. Notwithstanding these concerns, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) joined Governor David Paterson (D) of New York and Governor Ed Rendell (D) of Pennsylvania in recommending FCC approval. The governors lauded the merger partners’ “strong commitment to help preserve national and local broadcast television by getting the NBC and Telemundo television networks on a solid footing.” The governors also praised the companies’ “commitments to grow their new media businesses, bringing consumers across the nation more programming choices over more communications technologies.” Separately, Barbour told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that Comcast’s proposed union with NBCU “can only be good news for . . . job creation in our country and for continued innovation and competition in the communications market,” given Comcast’s “robust investment in broadband infrastructure despite one of the worst economic climates in 70 years.”
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Governors urge FCC approval of Comcast-NBC deal
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