Comcast, NBC assure merger would benefit public, not deny programs to competitors

Among other things, the filings note that the new, combined company would not deny NBC programming to online video services, choosing not to explicitly label sites like as competitors.

"Comcast would have no incentive to attempt to weaken online video distributors by trying to induce NBCU to withhold programming from them as long as those distributors offered services that largely complemented Comcast's cable and broadband Internet access services," the companies wrote in one report.

Additionally, Comcast and NBC predicted the merger would gain them the ability "to make more attractive bids to distribute sports content over a multitude of platforms, including sports broadcast networks, national cable sports networks, national sports networks, and digital and mobile platforms..."

That comment explicitly referenced Disney/ABC in a footnote, which Comcast said had gained exceptional leverage in the sports community because of its vast ESPN network.

And the two companies further predicted their merger "will make it easier to take risks and will encourage experimentation innovation and investment," especially with new Web and mobile ventures, and that the deal would help foster more local and diverse broadcast programming.

However, one public-interest group that has long opposed the Comcast deal told The Hill on Wednesday it was not convinced.

"Competition seems to flourish in Comcastland, even though cable and internet access rates continue to increase far in excess of in inflation," said Andrew Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director for the Media Access Project. " Its new analysis of online video is especially problematic in this regard." 

"Comcast argues that the NBC network is not "must have" programming, and asks us to believe that it would never withhold NBC or its cable networks from internet competitors," he said.  "This is not convincing, coming as it does from a company that blocked internet content from its customers and then lied about it."