Comcast to FCC: We Have Overdelivered on NBCU Conditions

As it prepares to pitch its deal to merge with Time Warner Cable, Comcast says it has delivered, and in some cases overdelivered, on its promises to the FCC that helped it secure approval of its combo with NBCU in 2011.

In its third annual report on compliance with the NBCU deal conditions, Comcast said it overdelivered on every broadband adoption and deployment condition.

The cable operator also pointed out that it had struck a number of deals with online video providers for access to programming without having to resort to arbitration.

Those included:

"Connecting an estimated 1 million low-income Americans, or more than 250,000 families, to the Internet at home through our Internet Essentials broadband adoption program;

"Expanding our broadband network by 6,289 miles or 141% of the total 4,500 miles required to satisfy the year-three commitment.  In addition, Comcast extended its broadband plant to 718,511 additional homes, or 180% of the year-three milestone of 400,000 homes-passed;

"Providing an additional 664 courtesy video and broadband Internet access accounts to schools, libraries, and other community institutions in underserved areas in which broadband penetration is low and there is a high concentration of low income residents, 64 more than were needed to satisfy the year-three requirement; and

"Far exceeding the requirement to have a broadband service tier of at least 12 Mbps down in our DOCSIS 3.0 markets.  In fact, the Performance tier in all top 30 markets is at least 20 Mbps down and all top 30 markets also have the Extreme 105 Mbps down tier."

Comcast also said it surpassed its targets for additional VOD content for kids, broadcast shows, and additional Hispanic-targeted programming; has "amply" overdelivered on PSAs by a whopping $57 million over the last three years; and exceeded its quotient of additional news programming by 1,200 hours.

"It is simply indisputable that we have honored—in fact, over-delivered—on our commitments," the company said in announcing the latest report. "And we’ll continue to do so."

Various groups have been disputing that claim, including Public Knowledge, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Bloomberg, the latter of which said Comcast was not honoring its news neighborhooding condition. The FCC ultimately agreed, though Comcast continues to maintain it did not violate the condition. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.