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Comcast in latest complaint says Bloomberg lied to FCC

Comcast Corp. has accused Bloomberg LP of lying to the government in the latest twist in the battle between the two media behemoths.

Last month, Bloomberg said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission that Comcast was ignoring the conditions that the regulatory agency put on the cable giant as part of approving its acquisition of NBCUniversal. Comcast told the FCC on Tuesday that the charge was "demonstrably false."

The specific issue is where Bloomberg TV is placed on the cable dial in relation to Comcast's CNBC. Bloomberg has argued that as part of the FCC's approval of the deal, Comcast is required to put Bloomberg TV near CNBC and other news channels. Comcast has countered that it only has to do that if it were to start placing similar channels next to each other on the dial, a practice known in the industry as "neighborhooding."

In April, Bloomberg sent a letter to the FCC charging that Comcast in fact had created new neighborhoods for news channels on cable systems it owns in Crescent City, Fla., and Claxton, Ga., without moving Bloomberg TV. "Comcast is favoring its own programming content and discriminating against competitors," Bloomberg told the FCC.

On Tuesday, Comcast said neither of the accusations were accurate. In its response to Bloomberg, Comcast included a declaration from Michael Davies, an area vice president for the cable company's southeastern holdings. He denied Bloomberg's claims that between 2011 and 2012 it created a neighborhood of news channels that included Comcast's CNBC and MSNBC along with CNN and Fox News channels. Those channels, he said, had been together prior to the Comcast-NBCUniversal deal closing.

In Crescent City, Fla., Comcast said not only did it not create a news neighborhood, but that some of the channel's Bloomberg said were held by news networks were actually held by other entertainment channels.

"Bloomberg’s continued presentation of erroneous facts should further call into question the basis for its complaint," Comcast told the FCC.

In its response, Bloomberg said it had used Comcast’s own reporting of its channel positions to Tribune Media Services, which produces television listings and on-screen programming guides as the basis for its accusations.

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-- Joe Flint

 

 
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