Comcast to be “unleashed” on rivals when NBC merger conditions expire

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Yesterday's repeal of net neutrality rules isn't the only good news Comcast is getting these days. In January 2018, the conditions imposed by the US government on Comcast's 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal will begin to expire.

Smaller cable companies that compete against Comcast are worried that Comcast will raise the price for carrying "must-have" programming such as regional sports networks, NBC's local TV stations, and NBC's national programming. The merger conditions require Comcast to submit to arbitration when there are disputes over prices, terms, and conditions of programming agreements with other pay-TV companies.

The FCC should impose new rules to essentially replace the arbitration conditions that expire in January, cable company RCN told the Federal Communications Commission in a filing this week. RCN is an "over-builder" that competes against Comcast by building its own infrastructure in areas already served by Comcast, such as Boston and Philadelphia.

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