US FCC taps satellite exec to manage Comcast review

* Move allows FCC to also focus on other pressing matters

* FCC review spans several FCC bureaus

WASHINGTON, May 19 (BestGrowthStock) – The U.S. Federal
Communications Commission on Wednesday tapped a satellite
company executive to manage the agency’s review of the proposed
joint venture between Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O: ) and NBC
Universal.

While few expect regulators to block the $30 billion deal,
the FCC is trying to address critics’ concerns that the massive
combined company could threaten consumers’ access to television
programming.

The agency said John Flynn, executive vice president and
general counsel at satellite communications company ICO Global
Communications (Holdings) Ltd (ICOG.O: ), will coordinate the
review to help the agency understand the implications of all
the different technologies involved with the transaction.

Flynn will oversee the agency’s internal review of the deal
in which Comcast would buy a majority stake in NBC Universal
from General Electric Co (GE.N: ) to create a media superpower
that would control not just how television shows and movies are
made, but how they are delivered to the home.

Flynn declined to comment.

According to several sources, the FCC had planned to hire
an outside expert to manage the agency’s review of the deal
because the FCC is focused on several pressing matters such as
implementing recommendations under the National Broadband Plan
and broadband policies.

The FCC also wanted to hire an outside expert to pull
together all the different strands of products involved with
the transaction: cable, broadcasting and broadband. The review
would span across several offices including the media,
wireline, and consumer and governmental affairs bureaus.

The proposed transaction is also being reviewed by the
Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Flynn’s entrance at the FCC comes after a court ruling last
month threw into doubt the agency’s authority over broadband.
Comcast is the No. 1 U.S. cable and broadband provider.

The FCC plans to regulate broadband access as a
telecommunications service — not as an information service —
but said the industry should trust that it will not apply the
most burdensome price controls and competition mandates that
come with that framework.

Following the court ruling, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
pledged to move forward with a light regulatory touch — a move
aimed at winning support from broadband providers.

Prior to being hired by ICO in 2006, Flynn was a counsel at
the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in
Washington, where his practice focused on communications and
intellectual property.

Experts describe Flynn’s role as akin to that of Blair
Levin, a former FCC staffer and telecom analysts who was
temporarily hired to manage the FCC’s broadband plan, a
blueprint released in March to boost Internet speeds and
provide online access to more Americans.

Flynn joined Wilmer Cutler when William Lake, who is now
chief of the FCC’s media bureau, co-chaired the law firm’s
communications and electronic commerce practice.

Flynn also was vice president and deputy general counsel of
Commerce One Inc, a software company he helped advise on
corporate, regulatory and litigation matters.

Flynn also served as general counsel and vice president of
government affairs of rStar Broadband Networks Inc and clerked
for Supreme Court justices Byron White and John Paul Stevens.

Stock Market Money

(Reporting by John Poirier; Editing by Gary Hill)

US FCC taps satellite exec to manage Comcast review