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Comcast to pay $800,000 to settle FCC broadband probe

Agency says the carrier failed to adequately market its standalone broadband service, a violation of a condition for its merger with NBC Universal.

Comcast has agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a Federal Communications Commission probe into the cable giant's broadband marketing practices after its merger with NBC Universal.

The settlement came after an FCC investigation found that Comcast representatives were not adequately marketing its standalone broadband service, a violation of a condition for the carrier's merger with NBC Universal that required Comcast to "visibly offer and actively market" the standalone Internet service for three years.

"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."

In addition to the $800,000 payment, the consent decree announced today extends the merger condition for an additional year.

Approval for Comcast's $37 billion acquisition of 51 percent of NBC Universal from General Electric in January 2011 came with several conditions on the deal to ensure that Comcast would not stifle competition. Those conditions included a requirement to actively market for three years a standalone broadband service with speeds of at least 6 mbps for no more than $49.95 per month for three years.