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FCC Chair Seeks Comcast-NBC Merger Conditions

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the go-stifle-yourself dept.

Government 68

Anarki2004 writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press report: "The head of the Federal Communications Commission is proposing regulatory conditions to ensure that cable TV giant Comcast Corp. cannot stifle competition in the video market once it takes control of NBC Universal. The conditions laid out Thursday by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski are intended to guarantee that satellite providers and other rival television services can still carry marquee NBC programming and that new Internet video distributors can get the content they need to grow and compete. ... Genachowski wants to ensure that Comcast won't be able to use its control over NBC's vast media empire to withhold content from emerging online competitors such as Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. — locking consumers into costly monthly cable bills to get access to a wide range of popular programming. Genachowski now needs at least two of the other four FCC commissioners to back his proposal, and he is likely to make modifications to win the support he needs to cap off the yearlong regulatory review."

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Great Idea (2)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660330)

How about making it a condition that they can't purposely slow down the guide menu just so you see the ads for longer? K thx

Re:Great Idea (2)

onionman (975962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660372)

How about making it a condition that they can't purposely slow down the guide menu just so you see the ads for longer? K thx

I'd also like a condition that says they have to increase their network architecture to support their advertised broadband speeds.

Re:Great Idea (3, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660380)

I'd also like a condition that says they have to increase their network architecture to support their advertised broadband speeds.

What would they do that? Only pirates use their Internet connections to the fullest capacity!

Sincerely,
RIAA & MPAA

Re:Great Idea (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660692)

Well gamers might use their connection to the fullest capacity. And those using netflix. But neither of us are in the gaming industry so yea, we're not in any hurry to support the broadband speeds we advertise. Also, we'll need a few years to establish a more dominant streaming video share of the market... maybe when netflix goes bankrupt (because we throttled them to death) and Hulu has 90% of the market..

We'll get right on the architecture upgrade when that happens!

Sincerely,
Comcast & NBC

Re:Great Idea (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34665122)

But by MPAA logic, commercial skipping is piracy, so watching streaming video on Hulu without watching the cable-company-provided ads is also piracy.... :-)

Yeah, I know. There's no "+1 Sad, but true" moderation. Such is life.

Re:Great Idea (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660390)

And also forbidden to convert NBC and NBC Sports from free broadcast channels to cable only channels.

Re:Great Idea (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660490)

Comcast's boxes are the worst. Even before the ads were on them, they moved S-L-O-W!! Definitely not the provider for channel surfers.

conditions? lol (4, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660586)

I'd like to see them break up both Comcast and NBC into smaller regional outfits. :P

Re:conditions? lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34661222)

I'd like to see Comcast utterly destroyed... stranding millions of customers... even though Comcast is the sole choice where I live.

Re:Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34662926)

Don't give them so much credit. The hardware in their settop boxes is absolutely ancient and the guide software itself is an absolute wreck. They couldn't have made it this bad if they'd tried.

4G (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660382)

This issue concerns me because I want to ditch cable for one of those hot new 4G cell phones with WiFi tethering. I don't watch much TV anyway, and anything I want to see is already on the internet. If the cable companies buy up all the good content, I'll be stuck paying $120 per month for a bunch of crap that I'll never watch.

My diabolical plan includes buying a digital antenna so I can get my football games. I also need some way to record those games so I can watch them at my leisure and skip the commercials. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I might do that? A TV tuner card and a big-ass hard drive?

Re:4G (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660462)

They have some stand alone DVR's on the market that might be cheaper then the HTPC option, but with a HTPC you could also use it to steam a lot of different video to your tv without having to worry if it is blocked like more and more media devices are becoming to certain sites. Large drives are cheap that adding more space is a easy option.

Re:4G (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660906)

Moxie? HDHomeRun + DVR software?

Really? (5, Insightful)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660420)

So let me get this straight.

The head of the FCC has just said, "We know this merger could be bad for consumers in several ways. Here are the ways: 'A, B, C'. However, I'd like to let the merger go through, if Comcast just promises not to do those bad things."

Genius. Trust a business to put the interests of the people ahead of their profit. Sounds like a brilliant plan.

Even if the promise is backed by punishment if they break it, it's still a terrible idea, and there's no way they can cover every bad thing Comcast could do in the promise.

Re:Really? (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660500)

And that's just the bad things we THINK they would try to get away with.

That doesn't include the bad things they will do very underhandedly, things we probably didn't consider.

They might be sued otherwise (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660544)

Suppose the FCC showed some spine and said, "No, this is not a merger that we can allow to happen, it would not be in the best interests of the American public." Comcast would sue, and say something to the effect of, "The FCC is going to prevent us from becoming more profitable than we already are, which is clearly a bad thing!" to which the judge would reply, "Hm, yes, you do need to be more profitable," and the FCC would be overruled. The problem is much broader: our government has forgotten that it is supposed to do what is best for all its citizens, not just those who hold stock in large corporations.

Re:They might be sued otherwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660600)

When we put sanctions on countries like Iran (or saddam era Iraq) we would punish oil companies for trying to sneak out oil for sale on the regular commodities market. It would be a fine, and the oil company would get to keep the oil and sell it. The profits from the sale EASILY made the fine a negligible cost to do business. Expect any similar approach should naughty Comcast/NBC break the rules. Your corporate theocracy at work.

Re:They might be sued otherwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34661440)

I want to know what happened to all the vocal, free market libertarians on this.

They seem to have disappeared into the woodwork.

Re:They might be sued otherwise (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662210)

What is wrong with shareholders in large corporations making money? Odds are YOU are one of those people even if you don't realize it. Own a 401k? Have a pension plan of some other type? Guess what, you are invested in large corporations and depend on their stock price increasing and/or them paying dividends.

> The problem is much broader: our government has forgotten that it is supposed to do what is best for all its citizens

Wrong. The government we were given is supposed to provide for a basic "Rule of Law" environment and prevent one Citizen (or group) from causing direct harm to other Citizens (or groups) of same. They aren't supposed to be DOing much of anything FOR us. The Constitution and Bill of Rights was all about circumscribing the power of the Federal Government with all sorts of "Thou Shalt Not..." type rules about what they could not do to or for us capped off by the 9th and 10th Amendments providing a final exclamation point on that whole "Thou Shalt Not.." theme. Revive the most "Federalist" Founding Father and their response upon seeing what had become of their creation would be to journey to Washington DC and register their opinion with a musket to the junk of the first Congresscritter they met. Even Ron Paul, because while he hasn't
directly violated his Oath of Office he hasn't had the courage to disagree with the daily rampant violations with a musket.

Re:They might be sued otherwise (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662476)

What is wrong with shareholders in large corporations making money?

At what point did I say large corporations should not be making money? Did I say they should not be profitable? I said the reason we are seeing these enormous, anti-competitive mergers is that large corporations want to become more profitable than they already are, and that the government will allow it without regard for whether or not it best serves the people.

The government we were given is supposed to provide for a basic "Rule of Law" environment and prevent one Citizen (or group) from causing direct harm to other Citizens (or groups) of same.

That is only part of what the government is supposed to do. Take another look at your constitution, you seem to have missed a few things about what the government can do.

They aren't supposed to be DOing much of anything FOR us.

Oh, funny, I thought you were a big fan of corporations, a creation of the government that gives the owners of certain businesses limited liability, which they would not otherwise have. Or, is that not the government "doing" something? I guess granting a corporate charter is not really "doing" anything in the libertarian world view.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights was all about circumscribing the power of the Federal Government with all sorts of "Thou Shalt Not..."

Except for all those parts that allow the government to do things; maybe you have heard of the "enumerated powers." Like the part that allows congress to regulate commerce, or the part that allows congress to pass laws that are necessary to carry out other enumerated powers. Yeah, I guess someone (Ron Paul, perhaps?) must have snipped out those parts of your copy of the constitution.

Revive the most "Federalist" Founding Father and their response upon seeing what had become of their creation would be to journey to Washington DC and register their opinion with a musket to the junk of the first Congresscritter they met.

Of course, in the early days of America, corporate charters expired after a limited time, so I guess you would not be too happy with the aftermath of all that bloodshed. Back then, corporations were chartered to do things that were necessary or benefited the public; the fact that their investors would profit from it was simply incentive, rather than the primary purpose of corporations.

Yes, times have changed; the constitution was amended and interpreted, we elected leaders who believed that "America's business is business," and our politicians were bought off by out-of-control corporations. I agree, we need to fix things. Somehow, though, I do not think you and I agree on what needs to be fixed.

Government by and for the corporations (0)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660918)

Government can't mess with corporations; they are the dominant institutions not the peoples' government (what it used to be.)

"Government just needs to leave corporations alone to do the right thing and compete for goodness..."
How could people believe this stupid shit and NOW after all this mess the corporations have caused how can they still have so many supporters??

The officials do not count because their job is to bow to the corporate interests while whitewashing the problems to the public.

Can the FCC block the merger? (1)

zQuo (1050152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661046)

The FCC can add regulatory conditions to all cable companies, which is what the commissioner is proposing now. The regulation is specifically aimed at Comcast so that they don't abuse their position after the merger.

But I don't think the FCC has the power to actually block this specific merger, at least on anti-trust grounds. That might require the Dept of Justice. Does anyone know exactly?

Based upon what I've read about his proposals on this merger and the Net Neutrality issue, Genachowski seems to genuinely care for the public interest, even when it causes problems for himself. I wish we had more officials like him; he might not go far enough in his actions, but his heart seems to be in the right place.

Re:Really? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661250)

> The head of the FCC has just said, "We know this merger could
> be bad for consumers in several ways.

Uh huh. NBC/Universal owned by Comcast is just so much worse than being owned by GE. How?

The public concerns are just a smokescreen anyway. I'd bet the real dealing is between Apple/Amazon and Comcast to make sure content, doesn't get locked to cable as stated, but to Hulu. Apple/Amazon have a lot of lobbying power and ain't afraid of using it. Then the Progs at the FCC/Administration are wanting assurances Comcast will continue to allow MCNBC to lose money being the Party's official mouthpiece.

Re:Really? (1)

RicoX9 (558353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661568)

As opposed to Fox printing money as the Republican Party mouthpiece? The "news" institution that went to court to insure their legal right to lie?

Both parties are full of crap, the Republicans happen to be way ahead in the corruption race right now.

Re:Really? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661556)

Even if the promise is backed by punishment if they break it, it's still a terrible idea, and there's no way they can cover every bad thing Comcast could do in the promise.

Not only that, but the fines that the FCC would have to levy in order to dissuade Comcast from doing these bad things would be record breaking. They would have to be in the billions of dollars per year of operation. Anything short of that is a win for Comcast. And that's just not going to happen.

Gotta give Comcast credit: they know how to prevent being a commodity provider. It's too bad there's a lot of free-market fundies out there who don't get exactly how bad this would be for actual competition in the ISP and content markets.

Re:Really? (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662310)

o let me get this straight.

The head of the FCC has just said, "We know this merger could be bad for consumers in several ways. Here are the ways: 'A, B, C'. However, I'd like to let the merger go through, if Comcast just promises not to do those bad things."

Its not "just promises".

It "accepts being legally prohibited from doing them."

Genius. Trust a business to put the interests of the people ahead of their profit.

Its not about "trust". Its about imposing requirements.

en if the promise is backed by punishment if they break it, it's still a terrible idea, and there's no way they can cover every bad thing Comcast could do in the promise.

Their legal mandate is not to cover every bad thing Comcast can do, it is to establish conditions under which the acquisition would not be unacceptable given the things the FCC is legally charged with protecting, at which point Comcast can choose to accept the conditions or not go forward with the acquisition.

The FCC is not, say, one of the central planning organizations of the USSR with unlimited and arbitrary power over commerce (or even the limited domain of communications systems.) It has specific powers which it can exercise in support of specific policy objectives dictated by Congress.

Block the Sale (5, Interesting)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660426)

If there are such serious concerns for what impact the sale will make, block it on anti-trust issues. I'm not one for government regulation, but we have some laws for situations like this.

These weak concessions, and planning on negotiating them down, makes this appear as little but a panacea for the citizens anger when they start getting shafted.

Get Liz Lemon in here. (1)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660430)

Lemon, did you see this? Representative Bookman is claiming that our merger with Kabletown must be subject to federal regulation and oversight. They're concerned about "uncompetitive practices". Utterly absurd. I haven't heard such a charge since Hugh Hefner kicked me out of the mansion.

The marketplace is about competition, Lemon, in its purset form. You do whatever you can, whatever you have to, to get ahead. If you don't compete, you die. Nobody steps in to save you from your enemies. This isn't funtimes in the playpen. It's the coliseum, and I'm the biggest, burlyest gladiator of them all.

I have to go, I'm taking Avery to the doctor for a sonogram before the hearing.

what about forcing CSN Philly and others satellite (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660458)

what about forcing CSN Philly and others like it to satellite!

Like
CSN NW
CSS
TCN (the comcast network / CSN Philly +)
comcast network 100 / CN100 / comcast network Chicago
comcast network 101 / CN101 / comcast network Chicago (over flow)

other comcast networks in other city's

CSN Huston starts 2011 / 2012

Yeah seek assurance from the companies (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660506)

Because, they just stick to their word. just like how wall street did, just like how bp did. just like how any other company does. because... well, because companies are made of love !

Time warner AOL 2.0 (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660580)

Huge content company plus huge isp. How could it miss?

Content vs Distribution (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660634)

I'd be happy if there were laws against the joining of Content and Distribution. This vertical model is bad for the marketplace and for consumers.

Re:Content vs Distribution (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661530)

Because clearly the iTunes Store selling music has been harmful for both the music marketplace and consumers? It's one of the few entirely vertical markets I can think of, but I would hardly call it harmful to either side. If anything, it's proved to be a benefit to both, since it seems to be allowing the RIAA to stay afloat while losing CD sales, promotes distribution of (and payment to) smaller labels and artists, and gives consumers a place to buy individual tracks or albums conveniently and at decent prices. Win-win. That's not to say that all cases of content and distribution being joined are a good thing, mind you, but rather that this generalization regarding vertical models always being bad is incorrect.

Re:Content vs Distribution (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661538)

Annnnd...of course, as soon as I posted this, I wish I could take it back. After all, Apple doesn't create its own content, but merely publishes that of others, so the case I just argued is a weaker vertical model than what you were describing.

Re:Content vs Distribution (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662292)

No you were correct. Apple is just integrating two different sections of the supply chain. Comcast will be integrating NBC/Universal content with their distribution network but only lightly since Comcast has nowhere the footprint required for doing it like they would want to.

Now look at Apple. They have very stongly integrated the hardware and condent distribution. If you have Apple hardware you are pretty locked to their CDN. Yes us nerds know how to put 3rd party content on an i* product but for most end users Apple product == iTunes Store. And unlike Comcast Apple does have the market dominence in BOTH of their integrated segments to raise abuse potential. i* products are a huge percentage of the player space and iTunes is the 800 pound gorilla in online content distribution.

So why is Apple seen as a good thing and unmolested by regulators while Comcast/NBC's deal is being reviled? Is it just the RDF or is it Apple's prog friendly politics?

Re:Content vs Distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34662722)

So why is Apple seen as a good thing and unmolested by regulators while Comcast/NBC's deal is being reviled? Is it just the RDF or is it Apple's prog friendly politics?

Apple got where it is subtly. It started with the iPod, iTunes was released at the same time. As both products were 'integrated' and launched together as a single unit it did not draw attention. They claimed marketshare and expanded from there with more iPods and now the iPhone.

Basically, Apple built their content distribution and hardware divisions and grew them in the market. Comcast is trying to buy the vertical integration which is far more obvious and readily seen for what it is.

I'm not supporting Apple though, frankly they should be smacked with anti-trust in the same way Microsoft should have been (forceably separate the iTunes/iTunes Store division from the main software/hardware divisions of the company) but, like Microsoft, it isn't going to happen.

Re:Content vs Distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34662206)

I'd be happy if there were laws against the joining of Content and Distribution. This vertical model is bad for the marketplace and for consumers.

Based upon what? Your idea of what's "right"?

If a business wants to vertically integrate, what's wrong with that?

Or maybe you think grocery stores should be forced to divest their trucking fleets?

Re:Content vs Distribution (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662326)

I'd be happy if there were laws against the joining of Content and Distribution.

The write to your representatives in Congress. The FCC regulates under the laws they have, not the laws you wish they had.

Re:Content vs Distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34663902)

Seems awfully broad. Are you telling me I can't sell my bands CD's at a gig or post our music to our website?

Re:Content vs Distribution (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668864)

Seems awfully broad. Are you telling me I can't sell my bands CD's at a gig or post our music to our website?

Consider the (admittedly hypothetical) situation where your gigs and website are the only places anyone could buy *any* band's CD, and by the most amazing coincidence, it's much more difficult and time-consuming to buy any other band's CD than to buy yours.

It is that sort of thing in which we are in danger if content and distribution are controlled by the same entity, or the same few entities.

Vertical Integration (3, Insightful)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660646)

Is what this is. Anticompetitive practices is what it is ALL about.

They're not doing this to save money in their accounting offices.

They're doing this so they can make life hard on other cable/internet providers.

And that's exactly what will happen.

If you don't want that to happen, this right here, is the moment in time to do something about it.

Think of the farmers! (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660722)

Consider the farmer. He owns his land, the equipment he uses to harvest his crops, the truck he uses to drive that product to the farmers’ market where he sells it directly to the consumer. Is that not vertical integration? 1:32 PM. Mark the time, ladies and gentlemen, that congress put a bullet in the head of the American farmer.

Re:Think of the farmers! (1, Troll)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660790)

I don't think you understand what vertical integration is.

Re:Think of the farmers! (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661634)

I don't think _you_ understand what vertical integration is. Anytime you combine steps in the value chain of a single product/service that is vertical integration; combining production and distribution in farming is the very definition vertical integration, and it's literally the same set of steps being combined in an NBC/Comcast merger -- NBC controls production and Comcast controls distribution.

Re:Think of the farmers! (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661676)

OK. Maybe he just doesn't understand metaphors.

Re:Think of the farmers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34661566)

Jack Donaghy, is that you? [30rockquotes.net]

Re:Think of the farmers! (1)

celle (906675) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661764)

"Consider the farmer. He owns his land, the equipment he uses to harvest his crops, the truck he uses to drive that product to the farmers' market where he sells it directly to the consumer."

    You left out that corporations control the markets where farmers get their money to rent the land(much of it) to farm their crops, buy the equipment from corporations, and transport most of the crop to corporations where some of it eventually ends up on your table. All of the described isn't done without big loans from banks. Farmers markets are just a sideline to where the real money is made just so farmers can stay afloat. The few farmers that are left that is given the average age is near sixty. I have farmers all around and none of them are younger than me(I'm middle-aged) and the few that are close to my age aren't married. The farmers that irrigate are the only ones doing fairly well, at least until they tap out all the groundwater in which case this whole area will become little more than a no mans land. The levels have been dropping for years but like usual no one, especially no one in power cares as long as money is being made.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Farmville isn't real life.

"...Mother Earth, raped again! Hey, she was asking for it. -- Carlin

P.S. This leaves out land prices that contribute to high cost of entry(no young can afford), herbicide resistant weeds forcing change in farm practices, high operation costs, lack of social support(think women, family, education as most people have moved to the cities), political instability(farm programs), management of the business side when you barely have time just to do the work, and let's not forget the weather, disease, etc. Nevermind it's often extremely hard work, very few want to work 18 hours a day for an income that is often less than the greeters at Walmart in a profession that has a variety of risks(health and otherwise) year in-year out.

Re:Think of the farmers! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34664706)

Now imagine how much of a problem that would be if there were only 4 farmers in the entire country who would willingly collude to prevent competition.

Re:Think of the farmers! (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34668868)

Okay, so besides Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill, who are the other two?

Extortion (3, Insightful)

loafing_oaf (1054200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660672)

Why does every voting official, regardless of position, now demand some type of additional compensation in the form of concessions before they'll vote?

Re:Extortion (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661082)

Why does every voting official, regardless of position, now demand some type of additional compensation in the form of concessions before they'll vote?

"Now?"

That is the fundamental basis of political negotiation. It's either that or autocracy.

Re:Extortion (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662330)

Why does every voting official, regardless of position, now demand some type of additional compensation in the form of concessions before they'll vote?

Um, what? Its not like Genachowski is asking for anything that goes to him personally. Its not asking for "additional compensation" to require that a company takes steps to do what the law requires you to assure that they do when approving a request before you will vote to approve the request.

Only one solution (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34660698)

Split the content provider and the common carrier apart.

Re:Only one solution (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661218)

And I'd like to see the producers of content separated from the companies delivering the content.

Re:Only one solution (3, Interesting)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661304)

Split the content provider and the common carrier apart.

You mean something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Paramount_Pictures,_Inc [wikipedia.org] .

"United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 (1948) (also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, the Paramount Case, the Paramount Decision or the Paramount Decree) was a landmark United States Supreme Court anti-trust case that decided the fate of movie studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their films. It would also change the way Hollywood movies were produced, distributed, and exhibited. The Court held in this case that the existing distribution scheme was in violation of the antitrust laws of the United States, which prohibit certain exclusive dealing arrangements."

Why is this country so hell bent on going backwards when it comes to corporate power and monopolies? I can't believe this merger was ever even considered by the feds, let alone treated as a done deal from the beginning as it has been.

Re:Only one solution (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34662852)

Why is this country so hell bent on going backwards when it comes to corporate power and monopolies?

Because they have a lot of money. And periodically threatening corporate interests is a great way for the politicians and lobbyists to milk them. You'd think by now that corporate America would be clamoring for campaign finance reform. But the K Street Klowns have got them by the balls.

Past attempts at finding synergy between content and pipelines have ended in tears. Most companies operate these as separate profit centers anyway, so a mandated breakup wouldn't be that big a deal. But the think tanks have corporate America screeching about their loss of the ability to innovate. Even if the business case for it doesn't exist. Occasionally, some idiot tries to pull this off. And after a lot of screaming and crying (and ruined business plans of third party content providers), they put things back the way that they are (de facto net neutrality). So lets just make a regulation and get it over with. It'll create a business environment with some certainty, which is what businesspeople are always clamoring for anyway.

Re:Only one solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34663548)

No, nuke them from orbit, its the only way to be sure.

As a long suffering Comcast subscriber (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660744)

They have the worst service and have been allowed to accumulate the Persian King's ransom they needed to buy NBC by overcharging CATV subscribers month after month, year after year. It's gotten so bad that they're trying to rebrand themselves as Xfinity, to try to wipe their slate clean in people's minds.

Don't let them to do that. Make them spin off, or give back the ill gotten gains through dividends.

Re:As a long suffering Comcast subscriber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34665480)

It's gotten so bad that they're trying to rebrand themselves as Xfinity, to try to wipe their slate clean in people's minds.

Ah, yes. The Blackwater/Xe maneuver.

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660864)

Giving a very large media producer one of the largest media delivery companies? Sure, Comcast is already one of the shadiest companies on this planet, screwing over its customers at every turn. But it's still huge. And the possible abuses from this are innumerable (sorry FCC, you're stupid). If Comcast didn't hold a monopoly in so many cities, people would just get upset with the impending bullshit (that'll cost you, but if you go over here to our NBC site for the same thing, it's free!) and leave, so I can't believe this merger will do any more than make people hate Comcast more and prove that NBC really is trying to push propaganda on people, now with monopolistic intent, but nobody except the FCC and our judicial system is posed to do anything about it. Hopefully they will, or someone might need to explode a few Comcast datacenters and/or backbones to send a message. Anonymous, prepare for battle.

newscrop should rebuy Directv and pull fox from co (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661168)

newscrop should rebuy Directv and pull fox / FX / FSN / and others from comcast.

DSL is the model to look at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660870)

You can get DSL from any number of ISPs. You pay rent to the owner of the "last mile" but your packets enter the internet via your ISP.

Comcast has a local monopoly over the last mile so they should be required to lease access to that monopoly to any existing ISP. The competing ISPs would have to put some equipment in the comcast POPs but that's not a huge barrier.

The same should be made true for any other local monopoly like FIOS. The municipality grants the access, so they should be able to require conditions such as equal access.

That's what they do in other parts of the world.

Anything else is just going to be subject to antics on the part of the monopoly...

Chuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34660982)

How about adding a requirement that the new owners renew CHUCK for season 5?...It's one of the only shows on a major TV network that specifically caters to nerds like us =).

You Can Always Trust Corporations . . . (0)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34661018)

. . . to act first in their self-interest, just like any wild animal. That is the beauty of them. There is no true pretense of altruism or benevolence, and their words are merely a means to their goals. If Comcast determined that saying "my butt tastes like Godiva Chocolates" would get the FCC to approve this acquisition, it would be their new slogan.

Why Approve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34661248)

Why not just outright deny it? Why does the FCC/government have to approve everything, or provide conditions for approval?

They're like most parents nowadays, or the patent office. They're too damn chicken to just tell their kids NO! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT! QUIT CRYING!!

Don't worry, Comcast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34661668)

In a year or two, FCC and/or a federal judge or two will say, well, we didn't really mean it, just like they did with requiring LEC's to open up their DSLAMs, and they look like they're going to do with Sprint/Nextel's commitment to roll out nationwide WiMax as a condition of merger. With or without stimulus grants to pay for the rollout. .

Merry Christmas, suckers

i'd rather the fcc (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34664042)

block the transaction. concessions or not. comcast buying nbc SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.

forcing equal access worked so well for ISPs... (1)

lpq (583377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34665214)

Just like ISP's and independent phone companies were supposed to be supposed to be provided w/equal access on telco-owned last-mile equipment...or ISP's were suppose to have similar to be able to compete against phone companies.

Then along comes another anti-government GOP president, like Reagan, who dismantles all of those pesky 'consumer' protections to save us all [sic], and we enter a new 'golden age' of media control with married couples relegated to separate bed again. (a symptom of large media companies who colluded to control the market (with the government's help, at the time who then performed government tasks of censorship, skirting the constitution for half a decade.

Another more recent example of government and monopoly mutual 'back-scratching' was in allowing AT&T to re-integrate, Bush declaring that the need for _real_ competition wasn't needed, as long as prices were 'competitive', and in return, AT&T gave complete covert access to the gov (CIA) to monitor all of the nation's internet traffic, also tidily circumventing the constitution.

People think we are so safe with constitutional protections -- but they do nothing to restrict large corporations from the same abusive power and leave us wide open to proven government abuse of constitutional controls by collaborating with monopoly businesses. Without more checks and balances, 'we the people' has been, and still is little more than a nice marketing phrase.

'E pluribus Unum' -- one unified controlling entity, from many: a government fettered by constitutional controls, and unfettered businesses willing to be given market control in exchange mutual benefit...

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