Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend the deadline for the public to comment on Comcast’s proposed acquisition of NBC Universal. Congresswoman Waters has long been concerned about the effect of media consolidation because it hurts consumers by reducing competition and limits the access of the public to diverse views by crowding out community and minority media outlets.
“The FCC must allow the public more time to present information, make arguments and raise questions about the takeover by Comcast -- the nation's biggest cable and broadband Internet company -- of NBC Universal, which owns broadcast and cable networks, TV stations and programs, and movie studios. A merger of this magnitude would have an enormous impact on virtually every American, and I want to make sure individuals and public interest groups have a chance to be heard,” Congresswoman Waters said.
Congresswoman Waters sent a letter today to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski requesting that the FCC Commissioners reconsider the FCC Media Bureau’s recent denial of a request to extend the filing period by 45 days. She explained, “An extension of time is especially important in these proceedings given the Commission’s request that petitioners raise all issues in their initial filings... [G]iven the extensive resources needed to participate in [a] proceeding and the complex and significant nature of this transaction, a 45-day extension is necessary and in the public interest.”
In raising concerns about the further consolidation of America’s media market and the potential harmful impact of the Comcast-NBC merger, she also noted that only “five companies own America’s major broadcast networks and 90 percent of the top 50 cable networks; produce three-quarters of all prime-time programming; and control 70 percent of the prime-time television market share. These same companies also own the nation’s most popular newspapers and 85 percent of the top 20 Internet news sites.”
The full text of the letter Congresswoman Waters sent to FCC Chairman Genachowski can be found athttp://waters.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=180476
Congresswoman Maxine Waters