FCC approves merger of Comcast and NBC
The FCC has given the go-ahead to Comcast’s impending integration of NBC Universal, setting up the deal for likely finalization (after a Justice Department review) by the end of the month, and giving its blessing to Comcast creating a “media powerhouse” that marks the first time a major broadcast network will fall under the control of a single cable company. Naturally there have been dissenting voices, with the FCC’s senior Democratic commissioner Michael Copps saying in a statement that the merger “confers too much power in one company’s hands,” and that it “opens the door to the cable-ization of the open Internet. The potential for walled gardens, toll booths, content prioritization, access fees to reach end users, and a stake in the heart of independent content production is now very real.” Nah, we’re sure it’ll be fine! And besides, the FCC’s approval comes with a set of conditions ensuring that Comcast does not restrict access to its newly acquired content—which also includes a stake in Hulu—when it comes to other cable providers, and those provisions will stay in place for seven whole years.
UPDATE: The Justice Department has already said it will not block the deal. Justice is swift.