Cable Tech

Comcast to Pay $800K to Settle NBCU Complaint

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has agreed to pay an US$800,000 settlement against accusations it was not adequately marketing a "reasonably priced," standalone broadband service, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Wednesday.

That service had been a condition of the FCC's approval of the NBCUniversal LLC merger. Comcast had been ordered offer a standalone broadband of at least 6 Mbit/s (downstream) for no more than $49.95 for three years. The complaint held that Comcast wasn't doing enough to market the tier.

The settlement includes a year-long extension of this particular merger condition, the FCC said.

Why this matters
The FCC's consent decree (readable here in PDF form) means Comcast will offer the so-called Performance Starter service until at least Feb. 21, 2015. And Comcast had better do more to promote it, or risk getting its hand slapped again.

Other conditions call for Comcast to properly train customer service and retail reps and "reinforce their awareness and familiarity" with the tier, ensure that new and existing customers have equal access to a Web page devoted exclusively to it, and to list Performance Starter on product materials.

For more

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:29:02 PM
re: Comcast to Pay $800K to Settle NBCU Complaint

Maybe the real reason "why this matters" is because it shows you can't trust big companies in big mergers to act in good faith.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:29:01 PM
re: Comcast to Pay $800K to Settle NBCU Complaint

Here's the statement from Comcast claiming they rolled out the product quickly and have since addressed complaints that they weren't up front enough about offering it.   Just checked on my account and Performance Starter is listed as an option with the other tiers.  JB  


Statement Attributable to Sena Fitzmaurice, VP Government Communications, Comcast:


“Comcast has incorporated the extensive commitments and conditions from the NBCUniversal transaction into the DNA of our business practices, including the commitment to offer standalone broadband Internet.  We are proud of our standalone broadband offering of ‘Performance Starter’ service – we rolled this product out in just one month, the fastest Comcast has ever deployed a brand new service simultaneously throughout its footprint.


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.  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.”


steve q 12/5/2012 | 5:29:01 PM
re: Comcast to Pay $800K to Settle NBCU Complaint

This is what Verizon Wireless should take a step back and ask themself if the AWS is going to be the right move. The Comcast people have no problem leting you in but they hold the A of card's and you will never win in that card game. Verizon Fios is 10 time more better in service then the cable company and Verizon Wireless most move that way let both company wireless and Fios work together to win. And not buy into the AWS, if they move into our store we will not be selling verizon product it will be comcast.

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 5:29:00 PM
re: Comcast to Pay $800K to Settle NBCU Complaint

When did stand-alone Internet service become so rare? I'd be curious to see the numbers on Internet-only subscribers.

Side note- I remember back in the day we got Prodigy service for $10/month. At the time, we weren't used to having lots of monthly subscription fees. That $10/month was a big deal.

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