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Comcast Boosts Public Interest Pledges

Comcast has sweetened the public interest pot for its Comcast/NBCU deal, including putting a number to its PSA pledges--$75 million over five years, limiting interactive advertising targeted at kids, guaranteed signal quality for PEG channels, and more.

Calling it a "further amplification" of its previous public interest commitments, Comcast outlined the new voluntary steps in a filing at the FCC Monday.

Confirming a report in Multichannel News, Comcast said it will extend its commitment to add 1,000 hours of news and public affairs programming on NBC O&O's to the Telemundo-owned stations as well. It will also add an hour of educational/informational kids programming to Telemundo stations, as it has pledged for the O&O's.
In addition, Comcast says it will:

1. Deploy better parental control navigation and filtering in set-tops by the end of this year, and allow parents to restrict access to video, apps and widgets on IP-based set-tops within a year of their deployment.
2. Limit interactive ads to kids, including not accepting interactive advertising in programming for shows primarily targeted to kids under 13, which will include Nickelodeon and Sprout).
3. commit $15 million per year over the next five years to PSA's about digital literacy, childhood obesity, parental controls, and FDA nutritional guidelines.
4. Pledge not to degrade the signal quality or impair the reception of PEG channels. It has already promised not to move them to a digital tier unless a system goes all-digital or a community agrees to it.

The news comes as FCC commissioners continue to vet a draft approval of the deal backed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and expected to be voted on, though likely with a few changes, within the next couple of weeks.