Deadline extended for NBCU merger complaints

'Comments and petitions to deny' can be filed until June 21

The FCC has rescheduled filing deadlines for those wishing to go on record as opposing the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal.

The deadline for "filing comments and petitions to deny" passed this week, but that date was suspended as the FCC waited for NBC Universal and its parent GE, along with Comcast, to file a couple of economic reports.

The reports were filed Tuesday, so on Wednesday the FCC set its new pleading schedule. The deadline for petitions to deny is now set for June 21, followed by a July 21 deadline for filing responses to comments and oppositions to petitions, followed by an August 5 deadline for replies to those.

According to a letter to the FCC, the two reports contain some "highly confidential" material. One is called "An Economic Analysis of Competitive Benefits from the Comcast-NBCU Transaction," by Dr. Gregory Rosston, the other is dubbed "The Comcast/NBCU Transaction and Online Video Distribution," by Dr. Mark Israel and Dr. Michael Katz.

According to the letter, the first report "finds that the transaction is likely to result in synergies and changes in incentives that will stimulate increased investment by Comcast in programming and distribution, and this, in turn, will broaden and accelerate innovation in video distribution platforms, expand the range of video programming services, and increase the quantity, quality, and convenience of video viewing by consumers."

The second report, according to the letter, comes to the central conclusion "that the proposed transaction does not threaten competition in the distribution of long-form, professional-quality video programming, notably the provision of such programming via the Internet."