updated 01:45 am EDT, Thu June 28, 2012
Comcast pays $800,000 'voluntary' fee to FCC
Comcast has reached a deal with federal regulators to settle an investigation into the company's compliance with terms of the NBCUniversal merger. A payment of $800,000 must be made by Comcast, as well as starting an advertising campaign pushing inexpensive and "reasonably fast" Internet connectivity to customers who don't subscribe to Comcast cable's television services. Comcast claims to have done nothing wrong, and is making the payment "voluntarily."
One of the terms of the Comcast acquisition of NBCUniversal was a requirement to actively market a standalone broadband service no slower than 6Mbps download speed for no more than $50 per month. The FCC began investigation of the merger conditions after it was tipped that Comcast wasn't marketing the stand-alone cable internet package, thus violating terms of the merger.
FCC enforcement bureau chief Michelle Ellison said that the fine and agreement "sends 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." Comcast's Vice President of Government Communications, Sena Fitzmaurice, indicated that she was pleased that the FCC was willing to work with Comcast on this issue, and that they could come to a "consensual" agreement.
"Today's action demonstrates that compliance with Commission orders is not optional," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Fitzmaurice replied, "as is often the case with services associated with government orders, the FCC had questions on how the service might have been rolled out in a different or even better way."
F.C.C. news release about approval of Comcast-NBC transaction