It has been two and a half weeks since the Chairman of the FCC initiated the final procedural step in granting approval for the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction. With an FCC decision expected very soon, we appreciate the continuing supportive comments from a variety of stakeholders - including diversity groups, elected officials, policymakers, independent filmmakers, and others - recognizing the many ways the combined company will benefit consumers and communities.
Building on the significant support we have received throughout this process, including more than 1,000 letters filed with the FCC, those who have recently written to the FCC to urge it to act without further delay include 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Senators Robert Casey, Patrick Toomey and Bill Nelson; President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial; Edward Burns, owner of independent film studio Marlboro Road Gang Productions; and Chairman and CEO of Hip Hop on Demand Will Griffin.
The letter signed by the U.S. House Members notes that the FCC draft order concludes "the joint venture will promote competition, investment, localism, diversity and innovation, and is in the public interest," and urges prompt action by the FCC.
We have also seen positive reaction to our recent announcement of a comprehensive program to help expand broadband adoption for low-income families. The Comcast Broadband Opportunity Program (CBOP) will offer households with children eligible to receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program a $9.95 per month high-speed Internet connection, a low-cost computing device, and digital literacy training.
We especially appreciated comments by Blair Levin, the architect of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, applauding the CBOP: "...Comcast has stepped up in the context of the merger and offered a plan that we should all hope moves the ball forward on this issue [of broadband adoption]." The Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership stated on its website that "...there is no more critical benefit to the deal than the immediate implementation of the CBOP." And Rey Ramsey, CEO of TechNet and Chairman of One Economy Corporation, said on Huffington Post that "Comcast has doubled down on their commitment to broadband adoption."
As we enter the final days of this government review process, we remain very grateful to all the stakeholders with whom we've worked to ensure that this transaction will be pro-competitive, pro-diversity, and pro-consumer, and appreciative of all those who have stepped forward to support our efforts. We are excited about the opportunities the combined Comcast and NBC Universal assets will make possible for the benefit of consumers, communities, and the future of America's innovation leadership, and we look forward to a formal decision from the FCC very soon.