DirecTV: Comcast/NBCU Conditions Should Be Open-Ended

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DirecTV told the Federal Communications Commission this week that conditions on the Comcast/NBNCU merger should last for at least six years, but after that should only be lifted when and if the merger company can demonstrate they are no longer needed.

According to an ex parte filing, DirecTV executives told Joshua Cinelli, media advisor to FCC commissioner Michael Copps, that the deal conditions should be at least as long as those in the News/Hughes and Adelphia/Comcast/Time Warner Cable deals.

Cinelli said that those conditions should include online access and arbitration provisions because the deal presents "a combination of broadband and content never seen before" before at a time when the convergence of that content gives Comcast the opportunity and incentive to withhold it from competitors, like DirecTV, or discriminate in pricing.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has made it clear that he expects broadband to be a major video-delivery medium going forward.

DirecTV said the conditions should be open-ended because "there is no basis for an arbitrary end date when harms identified by the Commission could still be imposed by Comcast/NBCU."
The FCC is now widely expected to impose some online conditions on the deal, though Comcast has argued they are unnecessary and could have unforeseen and negative consequences.

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