FCC opens inquiry into Bloomberg/Comcast neighborhood dispute


Bloomberg is in the cable financial news business, and it believes that unless it is sited on cable systems in the same general vicinity as direct competitors CNBC and Fox Business, it is operating at a significant disadvantage. The problem is that cable MSO Comcast now owns CNBC, and Bloomberg says as a condition of the merger with NBCU, it is required to put Bloomberg’s channel in its news block. The FCC has assigned it a docket number and is on the case.

Here is how the FCC lays out the case:

“Bloomberg L.P. has filed a complaint alleging that Comcast Cable Communications, LLC violated a term of the Order granting the application of Comcast, General Electric Company, and NBC Universal, Inc. to transfer control of licenses from GE to Comcast. Specifically, Bloomberg L.P. alleges that Comcast violated a term of that Order that states that ‘i]f Comcast now or in the future carries news and/or business news channels in a neighborhood, defined as placing a significant number or percentage of news and/or business news channels substantially adjacent to one another in a system’s channel lineup, Comcast must carry all independent news and business news channels in that neighborhood.’ Bloomberg asks the Commission to ‘r]equire Comcast, within sixty days, to carry [Bloomberg Television] in any channel grouping containing at least four news channels within a block of five adjacent channel positions on any Comcast headend in the top 35 most-populous DMAs that carries [Bloomberg Television].’ Comcast’s answer in response to Bloomberg, L.P.’s petition is due no later than July 13, and Bloomberg L.P.’s reply to that answer is due 20 days after service of the answer.”

The case is being handled under MB Docket No. 11-104.