Public Knowledge Asks DOJ to Review Comcast/NBCU Consent Decree

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Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, reiterating concerns raised by RCN and Senator Richard Blumenthal regarding Comcast’s compliance with the consent decree controlling its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal. The consent decree is set to expire next year. 

Comcast has a long track record of abusing its market power as a vertically-integrated content creator and distributor. Public Knowledge has asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether Comcast has complied with the DOJ’s Comcast/NBCU consent decree, and whether the conditions in the consent decree have been effective. Further, Public Knowledge requests that the DOJ determine whether the dangers the consent decree was intended to remedy remain today.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The video marketplace is undergoing a significant transition, as broadband and online video distributors allow consumers to access high-quality programming outside the cable bundle. However, incumbents with market power in programming, distribution, and broadband have the incentive and ability to restrain competition and prevent consumers from enjoying the full benefits of this transition.

“In 2011, the Department of Justice identified harms to competition that the merger of Comcast and NBC/Universal would create. As a result, it imposed conditions on the combined company intended to protect competition. If those harms are still present, the conditions should be renewed, or replaced with other measures, such as divestitures.”

You may view the letter here

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