FCC Tells Comcast It Had Better Get To Marketing That Standalone Broadband Service

The Federal Communications Commission has slapped Comcast with a $800,000 fine for not doing its part to market its standalone broadband Internet service. It was supposed to do just that as part of the conditions of its merger with NBC Universal last year.

Back in January 2011, the FCC and the Department of Justice approved the Comcast-NBC Universal deal, provided that certain conditions would be met. One of those was that Comcast had to still offer standalone broadband Internet service at reasonable prices, and with sufficient bandwidth to non-subscribers of Comcast cable service.

“Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with Commission orders is not optional,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. “The remedies announced today will benefit consumers and foster competition, including from online video and satellite providers, by ensuring that standalone broadband is truly available in Comcast’s service areas. I am pleased we were able to resolve this issue.”

What Comcast was supposed to do, and what it apparently failed to do, was provide broadband service with download speeds of at least 6 Mbps at $49.95 per month or less for at least three years, and to actively market that standalone service.

The FCC apparently received enough complaints against Comcast for not meeting those conditions to open an investigation, which resulted in this week’s $800,000 settlement. From here on out, the “Performance Starter” service must be offered until at least February 21, 2015, a year beyond the original requirement.

Comcast also has to make sure that service is more prominent on its website and in other promotions, you know, so customers know it’s an option.

FCC, Comcast Reach $800K Broadband Deal [PCMag.com]