Earlier this week, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Justice Department with conditions the committee would like to see imposed on the potential merger of programming distribution giant Comcast and NBC Universal.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the chairman, California Congressman Henry Waxman, addressed the letter to the assistant attorney general who heads the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Christine Varney, and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
Rep. Waxman asked that antitrust regulators impose requirements on how Comcast will distribute programming to ensure competition by, for example, not blocking competitors’ online programming. Rep. Waxman also said that regulators should make sure that Comcast will not give better service to their own programming versus other companies.
In a $30 billion deal last December, Comcast acquired a controlling stake in NBCU from General Electric Co. NBC Universal has a movie studio, broadcast networks and cable channels.
Media watchdogs and antitrust regulators are concerned that the deal will degrade competition on the Internet and on cable channels. Comcast has continually insisted that consumers will benefit from the merger.