DirecTV told the FCC this week that conditions on
the Comcast/NBNCU merger should last for at least six years, but after that should
only be lifted when and if Comcast/NBCU can demonstrate they are no longer
According to an ex parte filing, DirecTV
executives told Joshua Cinelli, media advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael
Copps, that the deal conditions should be at least as long as those in the
News/Hughes and Adelphia/Comcast/Time Warner Cable deals, and that those
conditions should include online access and arbitration provisions because the
deal presents "a combination of broadband and content never seen
before" at a time when the convergence of that content gives Comcast the
opportunity and incentive to withhold it from competitors, like
DirecTV, or discriminate in pricing.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has made it
clear that he expects broadband to be a major video-delivery medium going
DirecTV said the conditions should be open-ended
because "there is no basis for an arbitrary end date when harms identified
by the Commission could still be imposed by Comcast/NBCU."
The FCC is now widely expected to impose some online conditions on the
deal, though Comcast has argued they are unnecessary and could
have unforeseen and negative consequences.