wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Business

DJIA
-0.02%
S&P 500
0.05%
NASDAQ
-0.04%
 Last Update: 08:13 AM 07/25/2014

World Markets from      

 

Other Market Data from      

 

Key Rates from      

 

Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 05:41 PM ET, 06/27/2012

FCC: Comcast to pay $800,000 for violating NBCU Venture conditions

Comcast has agreed to pay an $800,000 settlement for allegedly breaking promises to the federal government that it would market affordable standalone broadband Internet services that weren’t tied to its cable television plans, the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday.

The FCC said Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and broadband Internet provider, agreed to the settlement after an investigation found it had violated conditions to its 2011 joint venture with NBCUniversal.

As part of the FCC's consent decree, Comcast also agreed to extend its promise to offer standalone broadband Internet service for an additional year, bringing its total commitment to four years. Comcast’s settlement fine will be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

“Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with Commission orders is not optional,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. ”The remedies today will benefit consumers and foster competition, including from online video and satellite providers, by ensuring that standalone broadband is truly available in Comcast’s service areas.”

The announcement comes amid growing scrutiny of Comcast and other cable providers, which are grappling with a transition by consumers to Internet video providers such as Netflix and Hulu. That trend threatens Comcast’s underlying cable television business and Comcast’s implementation of new data billing practices has drawn fresh attention from federal antitrust officials at the FCC and Justice Department.

Netflix and public interest groups have complained that Comcast appears to be making it difficult for consumers to break away from paid cable television services. The company offers its XFinity streaming video service over XBox gaming consoles for free to cable customers. It also imposes a data cap that today only affects a minority of its customers but in the future could deter consumers from streaming videos from competing services such as Netflix or Hulu.

Comcast downplayed the investigation by the FCC’s enforcement bureau.

“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,” said Comcast vice president of communications Sena Fitzmaurice. “We are pleased that Comcast and the FCC were able to address such issues cooperatively and constructively in a consensual manner.  We look forward to continuing to offer and market Performance Starter in additional ways and with additional outlets.  We believe this product offers a choice consumers want in the marketplace.”

The FCC said it launched it investigation after receiving complaints that Comcast wasn’t honoring its promise to sell and promote affordable broadband.

It was the first time the agency had extended conditions to a merger. And it said the action could lead to savings worth “many millions of dollars” to consumers.

Related:

Congress inspects data caps, online video rules

Justice Department investigates cable industry for data plans

FCC approves Comcast, NBCU Venture

By  |  05:41 PM ET, 06/27/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company