FCC Resolves Comcast-NBCU Investigation
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS:June 27, 2012
Tammy Sun/Neil Grace
(202) 418-0505/(202) 418-0506
FCC RESOLVES INVESTIGATION OF COMCAST-NBCU BROADBAND-RELATED
MERGER CONDITIONS; ENSURES CONSUMER ACCESS TO
REASONABLY PRICED BROADBAND INTERNET SERVICE
Comcast Agrees to Unprecedented Extension of “Standalone” Broadband Service Condition;
Will Pay $800,000 as Part of Merger Settlement
Washington, DC -- Today, the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission adopted
a consent decree resolving the FCC’s investigation of Comcast Corporation’s compliance with certain
broadband-related merger conditions imposed by the Commission’s Order approving the Comcast-NBCU
transaction.1 The Bureau specifically negotiated an unprecedented year-long extension of the merger
condition requiring Comcast to offer a reasonably priced broadband option to consumers who do not
receive their cable service from the company. In addition, Comcast will pay an $800,000 voluntary
contribution to the U.S. Treasury as part of the settlement.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with
Commission orders is not optional. The remedies announced today will benefit consumers and foster
competition, including from online video and satellite providers, by ensuring that standalone broadband is
truly available in Comcast’s service areas. I am pleased we were able to resolve this issue.”
FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said, “This Consent Decree is a huge win for consumers.
It reinforces and extends the terms of the Commission’s merger order to ensure that consumers have
reasonably priced standalone broadband Internet options, as the Commission originally intended.” Ms.
Ellison also stated, “The unprecedented merger condition extension, significant voluntary contribution,
and robust compliance plan send a clear message to the American public and the communications
industry that the FCC will vigorously enforce its merger conditions, to the ultimate benefit of consumers.”
Among other conditions in the Comcast-NBCU Order, the Commission required Comcast to continue to
offer standalone broadband Internet access services at reasonable prices and with sufficient bandwidth to
customers who do not subscribe to Comcast’s video cable services. Specifically, the Commission
required Comcast to offer standalone broadband services on terms equivalent to packages that bundle
broadband and video cable service. Comcast was ordered to offer a broadband service with a download
speed of at least 6 mbps at a price no greater than $49.95 for three years. The Commission also
1 Applications of Comcast Corporation, General Electric Company, and NBC Universal, Inc. for Consent to Assign
Licenses and Transfer Control of Licenses, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 4238, 4362-63,
Appendix A§ IV.D (1)-(3) (2011) (Comcast-NBCU Order). The Comcast-NBCU Order approved the assignment
and transfer of control of various FCC licenses from General Electric Company to Comcast, allowing creation of a
joint venture between NBC Universal, Inc. and Comcast.
prohibited Comcast from raising prices on the required broadband service for two years.2 Finally,
Comcast had to “visibly offer and actively market” standalone broadband Internet access service to
highlight the availability of this special service and other standalone broadband services.
After receiving information suggesting that Comcast was not adequately marketing its standalone
broadband services, the Bureau thoroughly investigated Comcast’s compliance with the merger condition.
Comcast responded fully to the Bureau’s investigation. Ultimately, the Bureau and Comcast reached
agreement to address the Bureau’s concerns, resulting in today’s consent decree.
Under the terms of the consent decree, Comcast must continue to offer its “Performance Starter” service
until at least February 21, 2015, representing a one-year extension beyond the requirement in the
Comcast-NBCU Order. This is the first consent decree in FCC history extending a merger condition.
Consumers will directly benefit from the greater availability of this reasonably priced broadband option,
potentially worth many millions of dollars in savings to consumers. Comcast also must pay $800,000 to
the U.S Treasury.
In addition, the consent decree imposes a detailed compliance plan requiring Comcast to undertake
numerous actions, including the following:
training its customer service representatives and retail sales personnel to reinforce their awareness
and familiarity with the Performance Starter service;
ensuring that new and existing Comcast customers have equal access to a web page devoted
exclusively to describing and permitting online purchase of all retail standalone broadband
Internet service options;
listing the Performance Starter service tier on product lists issued to Comcast customers;
conducting a major advertising promotion of Comcast’s standalone retail broadband Internet
access service offerings in 2013; and
continuing to offer the Performance Starter service at its owned and operated retail locations and
offering its third-party retail agents and independent dealers the opportunity to sell the
Performance Starter broadband service.
Ms. Ellison added, “I’d like to thank the staff for their hard work and professionalism in connection with
this historic settlement and acknowledge Comcast’s cooperation and willingness to ensure that the
benefits of the merger condition are fully realized.”
For further information, please contact Jeffrey Gee, Deputy Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division,
Enforcement Bureau, FCC, 202-418-1420.
Please direct media inquiries to Tammy Sun at 202-418-0505 or Neil Grace at 202-418-0506.
--FCC--News and other information about the FCC is available at www.fcc.gov.
2 See id. at 4362.
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