FCC and DOJ Allow the Comcast-NBCU Joint Venture to Proceed with Conditions


Yesterday, both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took actions that will allow Comcast to create and control a joint venture with NBC Universal, Inc. (NBCU). DOJ announced it would allow the transaction to move forward under a proposed Final Judgment that resolves DOJ’s competitive concerns regarding the Joint Venture through imposition of several significant conditions. Similarly, the FCC announced it had approved all necessary license transfers to allow completion of the transaction, subject to its own set of conditions. The text of the FCC’s order has not yet been released, but a news release outlining the FCC’s conditions was made available yesterday afternoon.

The FCC approval order will require increased local and news programming on NBC broadcast stations, carriage of increased independent and diverse programming on Comcast cable systems, expanded availability of Comcast broadband to rural areas and to lower income customers, as well as a wide variety of other conditions and voluntary commitments offered by Comcast-NBCU (Joint Venture). However, of broader interest to the video programming and distribution industries are requirements contained in both the DOJ Final Judgment and the FCC’s order relating to access to programming for online video distributors (OVDs), and well as the requirements relating to the manner in which Comcast carries such online video programming over its own Internet facilities.

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