Rep. Waters petitions FCC to extend public comment deadline on NBC-Comcast merger

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Monday asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to extend the period during which the public may comment on the proposed mega-merger of Comcast and NBC.

The commission announced in early March that it would accept initial input from consumers and interest groups up to May 3, with responses and replies due to the agency by June 2 and June 17, respectively. While public interest groups later sought a 45-day extension to that time frame, the FCC's Media Bureau ultimately denied their request.

Waters in her letter described the FCC's order as "disappointing," later noting in a separate statement that the merger "would have an enormous impact on virtually every American."

She asked Genachowski in her letter to reconsider the 45-day extension request, stressing it was "necessary and in the public interest."

"I have been tracking the Comcast-NBC merger for several months, and I am very concerned about the implications this merger has on diversity, localism, and competition in today’s media market," Waters wrote in her letter.

"Such an unprecedented transfer of media ownership and licenses warrants the Commission taking the necessary steps to ensure a complete and detailed record," the congresswoman added. "Thus, an extension would allow public interest groups and other organizations sufficient time to better supply the Commission with the invaluable data and analysis it needs to conduct a comprehensive review of our nation’s most consequential merger transaction to date."