Today, Public Knowledge filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against Comcast for excluding its Stream TV service from its own data cap. The complaint alleges that Comcast violated its NBC-Universal merger commitments and notes that the company’s behavior is inconsistent with the FCC’s Open Internet rules.
The following may be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“When Comcast bought NBC-Universal, both the FCC and Department of Justice recognized that Comcast could take steps to unfairly disadvantage online video. Among other things, both agencies prohibited Comcast from excluding its own services from data caps or metering, and required it to count traffic from competing online video services the same as its own. Comcast's behavior violates the plain terms of its merger commitments and the consent decree.
“Comcast's behavior is also inconsistent with the FCC's Open Internet rules. The FCC adopted an ‘Internet Conduct’ rule that prevents anticompetitive behavior on a case-by-case basis by analyzing the harms it could cause.
“Comcast's actions could result in fewer online video choices for viewers nationwide, while increasing its dominance as a video gatekeeper. If its behavior persists, prices will go up, the number of choices will go down, creators will have a harder time reaching an audience, and viewers will have a harder time accessing diverse and independent programming.
“Because Comcast's illegal behavior would harm the video marketplace and viewers, we’ve asked the FCC to stop it. For example, Comcast could eliminate its broadband cap and return to unlimited plans, or Comcast's customers–and not Comcast–could select which services to exempt from metering. We urge the FCC to take quick action to protect consumers and competition in the emerging online video marketplace.”
You may view the full complaint here.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.