FCC Has More Questions for Comcast and NBC Universal

By Cindy Waxer October 05, 2010

Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable company and ISP, has to wait just a little bit longer before taking control over a whopping 51 percent of NBC Universal. The Federal Communications Commission is requesting additional information from Comcast and NBC Universal as it reviews the cable company’s plan to acquire a significant stake in the media company.

On Monday, the FCC sent letters to Comcast and NBC Universal asking dozens of questions about both firms with responses due by Oct. 18, to better understand details about Comcast's distribution agreements, channel lineups and programming decisions. Queries from the FCC include:

Describe in detail any plans the company has to deploy broadband service to unserved and/or underserved areas. 

Provide the company's current channel line-ups, along with the percentage of programming channels currently operated, managed, or in which the company holds an attributable interest, as well as the percentage of such channels that the company will operate, manage or in which it will hold such an interest post-acquisition, for the largest cable system in terms of subscribers

As for NBC Universal, the FCC would like to know more about existing agreements with a number of cable, satellite and phone companies to carry NBC Universal channels, including Oxygen and local NBC and Telemundo stations.

At the heart of the FCC’s request for more information is the fact that the commission's media ownership rules prohibit any entity from buying up too many radio stations, television stations, or newspapers in a single market.

According to the FCC, these rules “restrict how many media outlets (newspapers, radio, or TV stations) a single entity may own. Congress also requires that the FCC periodically review its broadcast ownership rules to determine “whether any of such rules are necessary in the public interest as a result of competition” and to “repeal or modify any regulation it determines to be no longer in the public interest.”

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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