multichannel connect
careers
all access

Policy

Comcast: We Overdelivered on Promises

3/05/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — Comcast believes it is over-delivering
on the commitments it made to get the government
to approve its NBCUniversal merger.

In the first of six annual reports (one of the deal’s conditions),
Comcast enumerated what executive vice president
David Cohen said had become part of the company’s DNA:
more news, more diversity and more broadband for everybody
— particularly rural and low-income constituencies.

Bloomberg LP was not convinced by that DNA evidence.
It told the Federal Communications Commission
that Comcast has not complied with a condition that it include
independent channels like Bloomberg TV in its news
neighborhoods: collections of news networks, such as CNN,
CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC, on adjacent channels.

Comcast echoed arguments it has made to Bloomberg’s
prior complaints: that it has not rearranged any channels to
create new news neighborhoods and “as a result, has not incurred
any obligation to neighborhood news channels.”

Replied Bloomberg: “Comcast’s report to the FCC includes
revisionist language that deliberately misstates its
own legally binding commitments to chairman Genachowski
and the American people on the news-neighborhooding
condition in the Order on Comcast-NBCUniversal.”

Free Press — which, like Bloomberg, had issues with
the initial merger — was somewhat more sanguine.

“It’s good that Comcast is making progress on some of its
voluntary commitments,” senior policy counsel Corie Wright
said. “However questions remain about Comcast’s compliance
with merger conditions designed to promote competition
in video
markets. These
core conditions
are the only things
preventing Comcast
from using
its market dominance
to disadvantage
its rivals and
limit consumer
choice in programming
and
video services.”

September