Comcast Settles With FCC Regarding NBCUniversal Acquisition
John Neumann for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Comcast, the nation’s largest cable TV company, has agreed to pay a $800,000 in “voluntary contribution” with federal regulators and offer broadband internet access to customers who do not subscribe to their video cable services, the Associated Press reports.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Wednesday that the cable provider agreed to the fine and other steps as part of a consent decree to settle an investigation by the agency into the company’s compliance with conditions of its NBCUniversal acquisition, which was completed in January of last year.
Comcast was allowed to not admit wrongdoing as part of the consent decree, which resolves the investigation. Among other conditions, Comcast must conduct a major advertising campaign to promote the availability of the stand-alone internet service next year.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the settlement will benefit consumers, foster competition among online video and satellite providers, and ensure that stand-alone broadband is available in Comcast’s service areas.
Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast spokeswoman, said that the company has incorporated the commitments and conditions placed upon it in connection with the NBCUniversal acquisition, including the commitment to offer stand-alone broadband internet. “As is often the case with services associated with government orders, the FCC had questions on how the service might have been rolled out in a different or even better way,” she said.
It’s not the first time Comcast has faced a dispute over compliance with conditions from the NBCUniversal deal. Earlier this year, an arm of the FCC determined that Bloomberg’s 24-hour business news channel ought to be grouped together with other news channels in lineups provided by Comcast, which owns Bloomberg competitor CNBC.
Comcast agreed to keep news channels together in “neighborhoods” as a condition of its takeover, but Comcast argued that Bloomberg’s definition of a “neighborhood” was incorrect. Comcast is appealing the ruling.