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Update: Comcast-NBC Universal draws concerns by lawmakers, consumer groups

We'll be updating the Comcast-NBC Universal merger story throughout the day.

Investors seem to like the deal, with shares of Comcast opening up 4 percent to $14.94.

Lawmakers sent statements after the announcement, calling for hearings on the deal to see if it could hurt consumers with higher prices and less diverse programming.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who heads the Antitrust and Competition Policy Subcommittee, said he will hold a congressional hearing to assess the merger's impact on diversity in programming and on how people access media content on the Web.

“This acquisition will create waves throughout the media and entertainment marketplace and we don’t know where the ripples will end," Kohl said in a release. "Antitrust regulators must ensure that all content providers are treated fairly on the Comcast platform, and that Comcast does not get undue advantages in gaining access to programming."

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, said he has "serious questions" about the deal.

“A joint venture of this magnitude would benefit from regulatory oversight. When major media companies swell to control both content and distribution, we need to make sure consumers are not left with lesser content and higher rates.”

The Federal Communications Commission, which will review the merger along with antitrust regulators, issued a brief statement saying it will give the deal a thorough review.

"“The FCC will carefully examine the proposed merger and will be thorough, fair, and fact-based in its review," said spokeswoman Jen Howard.

Consumer interest groups are warning that the deal could impact pricing of cable and Internet video programming for consumers and competitors to Comcast. They also warn the merger could lead to more media consolidation.

And because I always love a good graphic, here is Free Press's illustrative take on the nuts and bolts of the new joint venture:

freepressmergerchart.jpg

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 3, 2009; 10:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Comcast-NBC hits first hurdle: Washington

Comments

Comcast is eager to diversify its holdings amid an encroaching threat from- ????

"... online video and more aggressive competition from satellite and phone companies that offer subscription TV services"

OR MAYBE-

12 YEARS of OLIGOPIC behavior is ending?

C-Street - Chip Pickering (R-MS) He was the man- the man - for our telecommunications. 1995-2007 12 years!

In the House, Pickering specialized in telecommunications issues, including one dear to Cellular South: making sure Congress took into account the interests of cellular companies serving rural areas.

Governor Sanford of SC emailed his mistress stating internet connection is unreliable at his farm.

Telecommun¬ications/C¬-Street

Wonder why we can’t compete globally.

Wonder why JAPAN offers the World’s fastest broadband and we do not?

4-3-09-By Saul Hansell

The fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabi¬t-per-seco¬nd service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan.

The cable modem needed for that speed costs about $60, compared with about $30 for the current generation.

By contrast, Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

And now the SEC is worried about fast computers?

8 years of this mentality and neglect. - TOO BIG to fail and we are still so far behind-

Posted by: sasha2008 | December 3, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I've got $100 that says Comcast's donations to Conyers will allow it to avoid anti-trust analysis in House Judiciary.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | December 3, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

ISAlliance Delivers Cyber Security Report

Typically, the economics of cyber security are not readily transparent and they are poorly appreciated. When defensive investment is compromised by factors beyond an organization's control, the motivation for continued investment is reduced substantially. Effective and sustainable improvements in our collective cyber security posture will stem from a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively motivate all players across our economic landscape to actively engage in proven best-practices in both their business and individual cyber activities.

Full Text:

http://information-s​ecurity-resources.com/20​09/12/02/isalliance-deli​vers-cyber-security-repo​rt/

Posted by: anthonymfreed | December 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Americans pay HIGH costs for SLOWER internet speeds compared to other countries, so that Comcast can become a monopoly.
Comcast 2008 profit - $34 BILLION which won't be used to lower consumer costs or provide faster speed. But no doubt will be used to BUY other media.

Posted by: angie12106 | December 3, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

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