Comcast deal has interesting strings attached

John Moe Jan 19, 2011

As expected, the FCC and Justice approved the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal. And as expected, there were conditions attached. The list is long but Ars Technica points to three items that jump out as being significant:

2.5 million x $10 – Comcast must provide stand alone internet service for 2.5 million lower income households for $10 a month. There was concern that Comcast could use its power as a cable TV provider to railroad people into getting cable if they wanted internet.

Hulu – NBCU was one of the co-owners of the online TV site. The merger agreement stipulates that the new Comcast can’t “exercise corporate control over or unreasonably withhold programming from Hulu.”

Open internet – while not locking Comcast into the classic definition of net neutrality, there was some strong language:

Comcast is prohibited from unreasonably discriminating in the transmission of an independent online video distributor’s legal network stream to a Comcast broadband subscriber. And Comcast must keep its 12 megabits per second service available to customers in markets where it is upgrading its networks, presumably to keep the environment for competing video providers viable.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.