The Federal Communications Commission Today Approved the Merger of Comcast and NBC/Universal

January 18, 2011
Jim Lakely

The following statements from technology experts at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution.
 
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Jim Lakely, co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy at The Heartland Institute:

“In the wake of grabbing regulatory authority over the Internet, the FCC surely wants to demonstrate its bureaucratic competence. Unfortunately, the commission has merely showed it’s in over its head when it comes to regulating media in the digital age.

“Approval of this merger took too long, coming nearly two months past the 180-day deadline that passed around Thanksgiving. And the merger comes with conditions that will likely prove unworkable -- especially the mandate that Comcast adhere to the FCC’s current version of ‘net neutrality’ principles for seven years. Such a span of time is a virtual eternity in digital media, akin to locking a cell phone company into the industry standard of 2003.

“While the FCC’s blessing is welcome, the commission should stop trying to micromanage an industry that moves faster than any in history, and give market forces the freedom to self-regulate and continue pushing innovation in the digital economy.”

For more comments, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org or 312/377-4000.
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 Bruce Edward Walker, managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News:

“Anyone with the least amount of business sense realizes the opportunities presented by the vertical integration of Comcast and NBC/Universal – and yet the FCC has held off on making its decision for more than a year. During this prolonged era of indecision and uncertainty, the FCC was able to strong arm major concessions from the two companies.

“It was a shakedown, and NBCU and Comcast had no other option but to play along. The FCC has played the bull in the china shop by exacting regulatory concessions that display a regulatory regime that is out-of-touch and out-of-control, favoring big government solutions to non-existent problems."
For more comments, contact Bruce Edward Walker at bwalker@heartland.org or 989/430-5557.
 
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The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.