SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- Just when it seemed the decks might get cleared for a decision on Comcast's (CMCSA) - Get Report ambitious plans to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWC) , a delay in the regulatory process has thrown doubt on the $45 billion deal that would combine the largest and second-largest U.S. pay-TV operators. 

Comcast, in a blog post signed by top executive David Cohen, said it doesn't expect the Federal Communications Commission to make a decision on the merger proposal until mid-year. The announcement appeared to point to an increasing tug-of-war between the agency and the companies. The delay comes after many industry observers concluded that regulators were more likely to accept the deal after the FCC approved rules mandating net neutrality, which had the high-profile backing of President Obama.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.