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October 23, 2014

FCC Pauses Clock on Merger Decision

Confidential Documents Delay Commission's Process

Confidential documents, and the need to review them, has forced the Federal Communication Commission’s hand when it comes to two highly-publicized mergers.

DirecTV-Logo1However, the documents in question surrounding the proposed mergers of AT&T and DirecTV and Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. haven’t resulted in any decision. Rather, the commission announced Wednesday it will be pausing its so called ‘shot-clock’ surrounding the two mergers. Initially, the FCC had set a 180-day deadline to come to a decision on the matters.

The highly confidential documents related to agreements, Reuters reported, mean the commission will need additional time to come to a determination on the fate of the two mergers.

The commission posted a lengthy and highly-technical document on its site detailing the move.

It appears the main sticking point preventing the FCC from moving ahead involves other companies. Information has been received from other pay-TV companies who have entered in to existing agreements with other media outlets. Those agreements provide the backbone of what services are delivered to subscribers.

Those companies have said they are leery of providing the confidential information to the commission due to fears information may reach competitors.

The news, the Los Angeles Times reported, doesn’t seem to be a concern for Comcast.

“As we noted previously, it is routine for the FCC to pause the review of significant transactions as it works to create a full record,” Sena Fitzmaurice, vice-president of Comcast’s government communications, was quoted as saying in a statement. “We are confident that the commission will quickly resolve these issues while continuing its work so that review will be completed in early 2015.”


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.