FCC taps Flynn to head NBC-Comcast merger review

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has tapped John Flynn, executive vice president of ICO Global Communications, to lead the agency's review of the proposed NBC-Comcast mega-merger.

Flynn's current work in the private sphere primarily concerns wireless networks, which may give cable and broadcast experts initial pause. But he is also credited with bringing his company public, securing it a series of spectrum licenses and winning a major court battle in 2008 — "broad experience," described Chairman Julius Genachowski on Wednesday, "that will help ensure that the commission's review is thorough, fair and efficient."

The FCC sent signals as early as last month that it would hire an outsider to coordinate the Philadelphia-based cable company's bid for NBC Universal, in part because the deal spans a wide range of areas — from cable Internet to broadcasting — that touch many of the agency's bureaus.

While details at the time were scant, an industry source close to the the process told Hillicon Valley that the new hire would ultimately free agency resources to work closely on Genachowski's broadband goals.

Outside help was thought of as one way to keep the commission on track to meet the targets outlined in the National Broadband Plan, the source added. That shift would at the same time ensure the Comcast-NBC review could stay on its 180-day time track, perhaps in time for completion in the fall.