Reps. Waxman, Markey Call for Restrictions on Comcast-NBCU Deal

Bright spot for Comcast: Waxman asks for vote this year

Last Updated: December 8, 2010 @ 9:08 AM

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) are calling for strict conditions on Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBCU.

In letters to the FCC Tuesday, the Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it should ensure that Comcast doesn't favor content it owns over that of other content providers.

Waxman, who will remain the top Democrat but lose his chairmanship of the committee when Republicans take control of the House in January, also asked Federal Communications Commission Chair Julian Genachoswkifor for a vote on the merger this year.

While Waxman's timeline puts him in agreement with Comcast, the cable giant was noncommital about his proposed conditions. It did agree however to "continue to work" on the issues he raised.

Waxman asked for the following:

-Assurances that smaller cable and satellite companies have access to programming and channels in which Comcast has a competing interest;

-Guarantees that Comcast can't prioritize its own video-on-demand services over those of smaller companies;

-Protection to ensure unaffiliated cable programmers aren't discriminated against in channel placement and tiering;

-Measures that "strengthen the creative and economic opportunities of independent writers, producers, and directors."

Responded Comcast: “We thank Chairman Waxman for joining other Congressional leaders in calling on the regulatory agencies to conclude their review of our transaction before year end. This deal will bring significant benefits for consumers, independent programmers, and diversity groups, and the sooner approvals are concluded, the sooner these benefits will be seen in the marketplace. We  continue to work with the regulatory agencies on the issues identified by Chairman Waxman.”