US lawmakers apprehensive about Comcast-NBC merger; Comcast defends the deal

Comcast-NBCIn response to the US lawmakers’ concerns that the proposed merger between US cable provider Comcast and NBC Universal may restrict customers’ access to programming and raise cable prices, Comcast said on Thursday that the deal, which is still “not a sure thing,” will neither hamper competition and cable rates, nor the availability of Internet-based TV.

Ever since Comcast announced in December last year that it is brokering a deal with General Electric Co. for the acquisition of a majority, 51-percent, stake in NBC Universal, Comcast and NBC representatives have made several appearances before Congress.

The somewhat apprehensive lawmakers have been seeking the details about Comcast’s association with rivals who purchase its content – an issue that they deem critical, because the $30 billion merger will give Comcast accessibility to a vast collection of movies and television shows.

However, the lawmakers have thus far got few elaborations from Comcast, whose CEO Brian Roberts fervently defended the company’s merger saying: “You don't buy the fourth-place network [NBC], and want to do harm, but rather you want to invest and grow it and restore it to its grandeur.”

Roberts further added that General Electric is partnering with Comcast for the key reason that “they think we'll be more focused and committed to … innovation and investment.”

The proposed Comcast-NBC merger is currently being reviewed by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.