Forget that May 3rd deadline for comments. The Federal Communications Commission is stopping its 6-month clock to have more time to review the Comcast/GE/NBCU deal. Specifically, the FCC is demanding that Comcast file two economic reports which the FCC’s staff says it needs. The FCC filing says one report is on the “claimed benefits of the transaction”, while the other addresses “the potential impacts of the transaction on online video distribution.”
The FCC also said it is extending the May 3rd deadline for comments on the deal because of the lack of more info. Now all parties pro and con will have more time to state their positions. “The commission has a strong interest in ensuring a full and complete record, and we believe this action will ensure that all parties will have sufficient time to review and comment on the applications, including these supplemental materials, and will ultimately contribute to the efficient and expeditious review of the proposed transaction,” the FCC stated.
This delay could possibly wreck Comcast’s and GE’s hoped-for timetable of getting the federal regulatory review done by end of 2010. But I say, Hurrah! Because, finally, the FCC is now under Democratic control and demonstrating it is intent on truly scrutinizing these Big Media mergers and acquisitions after a decade of Republican leadership which never met a Big Media conglomeration deal it didn’t like.
Immediately, Comcast issued this groveling (and meaningless) statement: “We look forward to working with the Commission to submit the additional information they’ve requested. We know they want to conduct a thorough and expeditious review of this transaction and we’ll be submitting these reports as soon as possible. We understand and agree in this case with the Commission’s desire to have a full comment period on key documents submitted by the applicants.”