updated 09:40 pm EST, Mon January 17, 2011
FCC said approving Comcast-NBC Jan 28 with limits
The FCC should approve the Comcast-NBC merger withnet neutrality conditions by the end of the month, a pair of sources said Monday night. The merger will reportedly be submitted this week with approval any time between now and January 28. TheWrap in obtaining the date noted an FCC meeting was on January 25 but that it could vote early this week, implying a decision as soon as Tuesday.
Many of the terms leaked out in the past would remain in place. Comcast-NBC would have to follow net neutrality rules preventing it from discriminating against rival traffic for at least seven years, regardless of whether or not wider neutrality rules were upheld. A Washington Post contact reiterated that the combined entity would likely have to share its online video with sites like YouTube or with hardware such as the Apple TV and Roku Internet Player lineup.
Other terms would include an anti-retaliatory clause to prevent Comcast from punishing companies for not using its services as well as an already known agreement to produce an extra 1,000 hours of news content on NBC and Telemundo.
Comcast and NBC have been pushing for conditions as loose as possible but have also been willing to make concessions to get the long delayed merger approved. Critics have still opposed the merger even with the terms, since it both represents further media consolidation and gives Comcast an incentive to favor one studio's content over others, particularly online. The cable provider has already been embroiled in a fight with Level 3 over peering that Level 3 has said might be an attempt to discourage Netflix use in favor of its own Xfinity TV.
Officials haven't confirmed any of the details of the approval process.