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Bloomberg wins FCC dispute with Comcast

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 2:32pm
The Associated Press

Bloomberg TV and CNBC may be getting a little closer.

An arm of the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that Bloomberg's 24-hour business news channel ought to be grouped together with other news channels in lineups provided by Comcast.

Bloomberg complained to the FCC last June that it was unfairly being placed too far away from its news competitors, including Comcast's CNBC.

Comcast agreed to keep news channels together in "neighborhoods" as a condition of its takeover of NBCUniversal in January 2011.

The condition is meant to foster competition and prevent Comcast from unfairly using its position as the nation's largest cable TV signal provider to promote its own networks.

Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said the company would appeal. Comcast argued that Bloomberg's definition of a "neighborhood" as being four channels within a given group of five was not correct.

It also said the channel placement was in place long before its decision to buy NBCUniversal. It said that requiring it to redo channel lineups retroactively would be "arbitrary and capricious."

Bloomberg's head of government affairs, Greg Babyak, said he was pleased that the FCC had "the foresight to include the news neighborhooding condition in the Comcast/NBCU merger order and the willingness to enforce it."

The order, given by the FCC's media bureau chief William Lake, directs Comcast to put Bloomberg TV into news neighborhoods and file more information about where the channel is carried in relation to news channel groups in different markets within 14 days.

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