Comcast ends FCC broadband probe with new terms, $800,000 payment

By Lee Kaelin on June 28, 2012, 1:30 PM

Comcast Corporation, the US' largest cable company has reached a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, agreeing to pay a "voluntary contribution" of $800,000 to the US Treasury and to continue offering a reasonably priced, stand-alone high-speed internet service for residents who don't subscribe to the firm's video cable services.

In January 2011, the Justice Department and the FCC approved Comcast's $37 billion purchase of a controlling interest in NBC Universal after a yearlong review on the condition they continued to offer a stand-alone internet service for $49.95 or less with sufficient bandwidth (6Mbps minimum).

The investigation was subsequently launched after the FCC received information that Comcast wasn't adequately marketing the service as previously agreed. "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 spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice.

The two have now agreed new terms as part of a consent decree, which resolves the investigation without the company having to admit to any level of wrongdoing, but they will be required to provide a reasonably priced broadband internet option for customers not getting its cable TV service through to at least Feb 21, 2015.

"Today's action demonstrates that compliance with commission orders is not optional," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The remedies announced 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."

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