FCC chairman seeks conditions on Comcast, NBC deal

Dec 23, 2010 By JOELLE TESSLER , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- The head of the Federal Communications Commission proposed regulatory conditions Thursday to ensure that cable giant Comcast Corp. cannot stifle video competition once it takes control of NBC Universal.

The conditions are intended to guarantee that satellite companies, phone companies and other traditional subscription television services can still get access to marquee NBC programming once the transaction closes. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also wants to ensure that new Internet video distributors can get the programming they need to grow and compete.

FCC officials, however, wouldn't disclose the specific conditions Thursday as fellow commissioners consider whether to back Genachowski's proposal. The chairman needs the support of at least two of them to get the plan passed. He is likely to modify parts of his proposal to win the backing he needs.

Comcast is seeking government approval to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co. for $13.8 billion in cash and assets. The deal would create a media powerhouse that both produces and distributes content.

The deal is also still awaiting approval by the Justice Department, which will attach its own conditions. Those are likely to be similar to the final conditions imposed by the FCC.

Approval with conditions is expected early next year.

The combination would give the nation's largest cable TV company control over the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks; 26 local TV stations; popular cable channels including CNBC, Bravo and Oxygen; the Universal Pictures movie studio and theme parks; and a stake in Hulu.com, which distributes NBC and other broadcast programming online.

Comcast already owns a handful of cable channels, including E! Entertainment, Versus and the Golf Channel. It also has a controlling interest in the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers, and its SportsNet Philadelphia channel carries Flyers, Phillies and Sixers games.

But for the most part, Comcast has built its business on distributing video programming and providing Internet connections. The company has about 23 million video subscribers and nearly 17 million broadband subscribers. Taking over NBC Universal would transform it into a media giant too - giving Comcast control over major box office releases and a wide range of popular television programming.

Comcast is contributing assets worth $7.25 billion to NBC Universal and paying Co. $6.5 billion in cash for the majority stake.

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User comments : 15

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Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Dec 23, 2010
Just rename the whole thing "COMC" -for Consolidated Oligarchic MegaCorp, and be done with it. Why even bother with the fiction of any meaningful regulation?
Bob_B
5 / 5 (2) Dec 24, 2010
Money always wins in the USA, so expect more crap and slower and slower speeds.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Dec 24, 2010
Money always wins in the USA, so expect more crap and slower and slower speeds.

Yes, money does win.
When companies find it more profitable bribe govt officials by supporting regulators and regulations, the customers lose.
If companies have to compete with each other, our money wins.
'Progressives' are blinded by power and won't see this.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2010
Yes, money does win.
When companies find it more profitable bribe govt officials by supporting regulators and regulations, the customers lose.
If companies have to compete with each other, our money wins.
'Progressives' are blinded by power and won't see this.
I don't think you realize that you're defeating your own arguments here.

If companies have to maliciously break the laws in order to screw the customers that means the regulations work. If the regulators are bribed, the fault isn't in the regulation, it is in the selection of regulators and lack of oversight.

Your logic is very poor indeed.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Dec 25, 2010
DirectTV dropped G4 and now they are in a pissing contest with the local NBC affiliate over showing the local NBC channel.
I would think that any TV network and distribution system would do what it required to get their product in front of their customers.
As more people use the internet to stream content and watch select programs, all distributors like DirectTV and Comcast will need to be very careful as technology and customer demand will put them out of business if they don't meet the needs of the customers.

it is in the selection of regulators and lack of oversight.

You're the big govt cheerleader. Why don't you fix it?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 25, 2010
As more people use the internet to stream content and watch select programs, all distributors like DirectTV and Comcast will need to be very careful as technology and customer demand will put them out of business if they don't meet the needs of the customers.
And how does this happen if the only onramps to the internet for consumers are provided by those companies(Comcast/Direct TV/et al)?

You're the big govt cheerleader. Why don't you fix it?
Actually you'd be the cheerleader in this case as you're the one out front flashing your ridiculous viewpoints at every chance.

I'd certainly like to have the GAO go through and eliminate any largess or perceived bribery but I can't because people like you keep electing do nothings from the Conservative caucus as opposed to the conservatives who actually pass laws to convict and remove these cancers in the system.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Dec 25, 2010
the conservatives who actually pass laws to convict and remove these cancers in the system.

That can happen next congress thanks to the tea parties.
the only onramps to the internet for consumers are provided by those companies

But the govt controls these on ramps and you want the govt to control more.
Govt controls RF bands, orbits, .....

Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 26, 2010
That can happen next congress thanks to the tea parties.
Then why did they elect do nothings like Bachman and her group of useless idiots?
But the govt controls these on ramps and you want the govt to control more.
Govt controls RF bands, orbits,
Those are protocols and placements, not onramps, idiot.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Dec 26, 2010
"Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. "
"Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill."
"Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them."
{I'm sure this annoys SH.}
"Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization."
http://www.onthei...form.htm

Those are protocols and placements, not onramps, idiot.

Whatever you want to call it, but it is still another process that requires govt approval.
There was time when C-band satellite TV was illegal and then DirectTV was originally only allowed in areas without wired cable.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 26, 2010
"Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. "
Artificially weak bill made weaker by corporatist TEA partiers. If this bill was what I wanted it to be, it would include PAC donations, ie: The TEA party itself.
"Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill."
That is a power of the supreme court, not the congress. To give this power to congress and remove the honus from the courts you are cutting one leg of checks and balances out of the government. This is a purely fascist move and is technically contrary to the division of powers outlined in the constitution.
"Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them."
{I'm sure this annoys SH.}
You're quite incorrect. This should have been unanimously passed.
"Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization."
Unnecessary, also creates a lobby of congressional lawyers, very anti-tort reform.
it is still another process that requires govt approval
You're thick.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 26, 2010
From your source:

Michele Bachman also voted-
NO on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress
Too bad, looks like she supports taxation without representation.
NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.
The only person that loses here is the people.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Dec 26, 2010
Too bad, looks like she supports taxation without representation.

DC can follow the example of Arlington, VA. They would be much better off joining MD than being governed by Congress.
eachus
5 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2010
And how does this happen if the only onramps to the internet for consumers are provided by those companies(Comcast/Direct TV/et al)?


Where have you been for the past 30 years? Those of us who were involved with the original ARPAnet saw the "this changes everything" nature of the net. So we worked to make the rules for the ARPAnet and other networks in a way that kept the barriers to entry very low. The standards for the net are documented in requests for comments (RFCs). If no one objects, the RFC becomes a standard. Most objections are technical improvements that in turn become new RFCs, and then revised standards. The protocols for connectivity and routing have gone through many revisions as the number of computers connected went from a dozen to a few hundred to now billions.

Even though the directory and routing standards required lots of changes, the connectivity rules have remained the same: get a connection to a connected computer and support the RFCs.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2010
Even though the directory and routing standards required lots of changes, the connectivity rules have remained the same: get a connection to a connected computer and support the RFCs.
So you're arguing for net neutrality, by trying to tell me that net neutrality is maintained through the routing standards imposed on the internet before ISPs existed.

Are you confused?

Sending reset packets down your line to prevent protocol use is not covered in the RFCs that deal with physical and logical connectivity. The RFCs you're referring to do not provide information on anything above ISO layer 2, maybe "3" when IPv6 comes along.
billvb
not rated yet Jan 01, 2011
have comcast or x divest itself of signal infrastructure...or...content providers cannot own more than 25 percent of infrastructure companies...or...like old att force all infrastructure providers to carry all the others content to provide competition.

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