FCC Rules for Bloomberg in Comcast Dispute

Bloomberg is an "independent news channel" entitled to more desirable positions on the dial, FCC says

The Federal Communications Commission ruled in Bloomberg TV's favor Wednesday in a dispute with Comcast, saying that the cable provider must give the business news network with more desirable channel positions.

The FCC set certain terms under its approval of Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal last year. Bloomberg argued that under those terms, it was defined as an "independent news channel" entitled to appear in the same "news neighborhoods" as the major cable networks, including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Comcast said it would appeal the ruling. It calls for Bloomberg to be placed in the same neighborhoods as the major news networks. In cases where Comcast offers mutiple groupings of news networks, Bloomberg may not be able to choose which neighborhood it is placed in.

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The decision was issued by the FCC's media bureau. Comcast said it would appeal to the full commission

"We plan to immediately appeal to the full Commission and believe they will agree to enforce only conditions as they were originally negotiated and intended and that the Media Bureau's mis-interpretation will be overturned," said Sena Fitzmaurice, vice president of government communications for Comcast.

Bloomberg welcomed the news and praised the FCC for having "the foresight to include the news neighborhooding condition in the Comcast/NBCU merger order and the willingness to enforce it."

"Many in the public interest community have worked tirelessly with us to promote the availability of independent sources of news to the public, and we look forward to working with Comcast to implement the order over the next 60 days," said Greg Babyak, Bloomberg's head of government affairs.