In NBC-Comcast Deal, Quiet Concerns


Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable provider, has long played hardball with competitors and content providers. Now that it is seeking control of NBC Universal in a $30 billion transaction, those competitors are piping up, expressing fears that Comcast will use its consolidated power to favor its own content and squeeze out rivals.

But one group has been noticeably silent: local television broadcasters. The owners of local stations are worried that if Comcast owned NBC, its market power would hurt competing stations and drive down the prices that those cable companies pay to retransmit local programs, potentially reshaping the local TV landscape.

But the broadcasters have largely kept quiet about the concerns before the Monday deadline set by the Federal Communications Commission for public comments about the proposed sale. That is partly because they have been locked in negotiations with Comcast for months, trying to reach agreement on protections for competitors that both sides can live with.

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