Broadcast Panel Chief Wants Conditions for Comcast-NBCU

Rep. Rick Boucher says he has “concerns” about the deal, but says they could be rectified

Comcast's proposed purchase of a majority stake in NBC Universal should be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department — but with conditions, the chairman of a House panel that oversees the broadcast industry said Monday.

Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., wrote in letters to the FCC and the Justice Department that he has some “concerns” about the deal, but they could be rectified.

Among Boucher's suggested bans:    

– Moving programs now offered for free on NBC.com and over the air to pay-TV platforms, like the TV Everywhere for mobile devices or other online services.

– Exclusive agreements that would keep from rival web or mobile sitesfrom rival web or mobile sitesfrom rival web or mobile sitesfrom rival web or mobile sitesfrom rival web or mobile sites channels that Comcast or NBCU have financial interests in.

– Actions that would keep independent providers of programming or channels from making programming available to rivals. The move would prevent Comcast from signing a deal for one program in return for the supplier not making a second program available to rivals.

– Moving free TV sports programming to cable.

Boucher's panel is under the House Energy & Commerce Committee.