FCC Approves Comcast-NBCU Deal; Conditions Affect Online Video Programming and Affordable Broadband Commitments

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

On January 18, 2011, the FCC granted approval of the Comcast-NBCU transaction, with conditions and commitments, of course. Although the order has not yet been released, according to the FCC's press release, the approval requires Comcast-NBCU to "take affirmative steps to foster competition in the video marketplace," including ensuring reasonable access to Comcast-NBCU programming and Comcast's distribution system.

On the broadband side, the conditions require Comcast-NBCU to "guarantee bona fide online distributors the ability to obtain Comcast-NBCU programming in appropriate circumstances." Some examples include offering content to online video distributors on the same terms and conditions as offered to traditional MVPDs; offering standalone broadband service to access online video services such that customers would not be required to purchase cable service from Comcast; and not disadvantaging rival online video distribution through Comcast's broadband service or cable set-top boxes.

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