FCC Approves Comcast-NBC Universal Merger

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a merger between cable operator Comcast and television network and media company NBC Universal. The deal has a number of strings attached according to a Washington Post report, but many net groups think that the agency didn’t go far enough in its conditions for approval of the deal. When the deal is complete, Comcast (the country’s largest cable television provider) will control such networks as USA, Bravo, MSNBC, NBC, and CNBC – to name a few.

Four out of five commissioners voted to approve the merger. The Justice Department also gave the green light for the deal today.

"After a thorough review, we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

Some of the specific FCC conditions included requiring Comcast to offer Internet versions of its content to "bona fide" online distributors of video at the same terms and conditions it gives to cable and satellite providers. Examples of services that this might benefit include Apple TV and YouTube.

The FCC did not require Comcast to divest its interest in the Hulu video service – something that lawmakers like as Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) had proposed as a condition of the deal. Hulu is a joint venture between NBC, News Corp., and the Walt Disney Co.

Comcast also has to provide broadband Internet as a stand-alone service at "reasonable prices" and with "sufficient bandwidth" so customers can watch video online without having to also subscribe to cable television. Comcast also promised to contribute more local news, informational programming, more programming for children and minorities, and a $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households.

The lone vote against the merger came from Democratic Commissioner Michael J. Copps, who said that the concentration of media under Comcast’s control would put too much power into the hands of one company.

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  1. 0
    greevar says:

    You earned yourself an "A" for adroit! Those are the majority of shows now. There are a few gems (Big Bang, Outsourced, etc.), but 90% of it is derivative crap.


  2. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    I didn’t need to watch TV anyway.  Nothing good on anymore between "reality" TV, medical dramas, cop/forensics shows, and lame commercials every five minutes.  Hulu is silly and doesn’t really have shows I want to watch either.  I’d rather play video games as they are far less mind-numbing.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  3. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    welcome to The United States of Comcast!

    Comcast wins the Worst Company in America award year after year:

    and Republicans think the Market can govern itself? Add the Net Neutrality debacle and this just becomes worse. what was that provision about comcast not being able to slow down traffic of competitors but only for the next 7 years? what happens after 7 years? I suspect that’s when we get into the Thug Mentality of: "Hey Netflix, pay up or have your traffic slowed to an unusable crawl. who runs BarterTown!!".

    this will only end well for Comcast.
    yes, we do need another hero!

    < ok, enough of the Thunderdome references :) >

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