Incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-MI) has fired off a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski urging him to review the proposed Comcast/NBCU merger on its merits, avoid using it as a vehicle to regulate, and get it done soon.
Upton especially warned Genachowski about letting the process turn into a festival for Comcast and NBCU competitors to apply regulatory handcuffs to the merged entity.
“Do not let opportunistic competitors or special interest groups undermine your regulatory process by using the transaction review as a vehicle to implement their industry-wide policy wish lists or unwarranted conditions. Failing to remain focused on issues directly related to this transaction would create uncertainty for future business transactions, and harm investment and innovation.”
Neither does Upton condone the FCC using the proceeding as an excuse to pursue its own possible policy wish list. “I will be troubled if it appears that the Commission is using this transaction to accomplish broader, partisan objectives that it does not have the policy support to impose industry-wide, that it might not have the authority to pursue were it not presented with a license transaction, and that the parties cannot object to without risking their proposed endeavor.”
Upton concluded, “Last month, the American people sent a clear message to the federal government: they want to see the national economy turned around, they want to see investment and innovation, and they do not support interventionist government policies. I sincerely hope that you are undertaking a thorough and fair review f the proposed Comcast-NBCU Joint Venture, and urge you to rule on this transaction before the end of this calendar year.”