Calm Under Pressure: Comcast Shareholders Brush off Net Neutrality Probe

Comcast faces FCC involvement in its fee dispute with Level 3 Communications and a new campaign to block its pending acquisition of NBC Universal, but shareholders appear unfazed.Comcast's (CMCSA) shareholders appeared largely unfazed Tuesday by the cable giant's fee dispute with Level 3 Communications (LVLT) and new opposition to its deal to buy NBC Universal. Comcast shares fell as much as 34 cents per share early in the day, but closed a modest 17 cents down -- representing a drop of less than 1% -- at $20.03 per share before gaining another cent in after-hours trading.

But investors could find those issues harder to brush off in the future if regulators end up siding with Comcast's opponents and making significant rulings against the company.

To begin with, the Consumers Union, which publishes Consumers Reports, launched a new campaign Tuesday to oppose Comcast's deal to buy NBC Universal. The campaign includes mobile billboard sporting an image of a television cable squeezing the life out of a television. "A combined Comcast-NBC could lead to higher prices for consumers and further consolidation of media choices," Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for the Consumers Union, said in the Consumer Reports Electronics Blog.

Also on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has asked for more information on the dispute between Level 3 and Comcast. Level 3, which distributes both Internet traffic and content like Netflix's streaming movies, filed an FCC complaint over a fee to allow Level 3 to deliver content to Comcast users.

Net Neutrality at Stake

On Monday, Level 3 Communications released a statement alleging that Comcast was unfairly charging it an additional fee to transmit its content over the Comcast cable network. Comcast responded by accusing Level 3 of engaging in unfair business practices. In a blog post by senior vice president Joe Waz, Comcast argued that because Level 3 traffics a higher volume of streaming video content from Netflix, it places a higher level of stress on its cable system and therefore Level 3 should pay higher fees. TechCrunch gives a more detailed account of the arguments each company makes about Internet access and who should pay for it.

This week, the FCC is expected to propose its final net neutrality rules, intended to keep Internet providers from deliberately slowing or blocking legal Internet traffic. Because the financial fortunes of many technology firms are at stake, regulators may delay releasing the new rules until they've had a chance to study the Level 3 dispute more closely.

Aside from Level 3, Comcast also faces a dispute with another partners also over its fees. Cable modem supplier Zoom Telephonics (ZMTP) also lodged a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday over Comcast's fees for testing modem compatibility. Comcast has yet to comment on the Zoom Telephonics complaint filed with the FCC.

Both Level 3 and Zoom contend that the additional fees from Comcast will likely result in higher prices for consumers. But neither company's shares were affected by the fee fight Tuesday, ending the day unchanged at $1 per share for Level 3 and 30 cents per share for Zoom.

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mwelch5467

I worked for Comcast for 30 years,We was having trouble in our office with our work load.You was suppose to do so many orders in a ten hour shift.The only problem was that you never got to take your breaks or Lunch periods.Our office was in Beaver falls Pa.The main offive was in Pittsburgh Pa.Also beside not be able to take your breaks they would call out orders to you during the day.So you did all the work that was given to you and never got a lunch or a break period,or you took your lunch and breaks and did not finish all the work and got a bad report on your production report and when raise time came you got a low raise.I and many people at the time Complain to James LOY he was the manger of our office.Basic you was told other people do it so their is no reason why you cannot.If fact I was told I was a very slow worker and needed to speed up.If I was such a bad worker why did they keep me for almost 30 years.The company had a number to call if you could not resolve your complain with your foreman.I called several times and nothing ever happen.Comcast hates union so I night I was out working until about 1000pm that evening.I did not have a lunch or any breaks during that time. I got mad and called all my co - workers and said we need a union in this shop or nothing is ever going change.Well to make a long story short I got hurt and was off work for about 8 months.When my doctor told me I could go back to work I was told my job had already been filled But I could apply with the company as a new employee.I meant Mr Roberts and his son they started the company back in the 1960.I wrote a letter to both of them and even send the Board of Directors a letter explaining what happen to me.I though for sure I would get my Job back I was a good employee and always did what I was told.They kept me around for 30 Years so I must have been some what off a good and product employee.Anyway I got a letter from Comcast and basic said they was going to check into my complains Well suppose they did and I never did get my job back.They did this to one of my friends to who was talking about bring in a union.The office manger James Loy Black ball him to.I was so upset I lost my job the people who I work with were like family.So I find out the main reason they did not bring me back was because I was talking union and Comcast HATES unions.They basic do what they want.I also though alot about Mr Brian Roberts the CEO of comcast and the board of Directors but all they care about is malking more Money .Comcast had great benefits I had almost 5 weeks off with my sick days and vacation days and their pay was good to. They was just not fair when it came to the work load and your breaks which I though was against the Labor Laws of the United States.My Last chance to try to get my job back was to talk to the union.But I wasted so much time writing to Mr Robers and the board of Directors that six month period had pass and the union could not take my complain to the Labor Board.I just had so much trust in Mr Robers his son that I was fooled.If I would have went to the union the frist thing I would probly still be working for Comcast.They should be invested by the Justic Department and Labor board cause as I still understand it guys are working 10-12 hour shifts without any lunch or breaks and if you complain they or talk union they are given a low production score and at raise time you dont get nothing.One time I heard a co -worker complain about the work load and the boss told him if he did not like it he could leave and not to that the door hit him on the back of his ass. Marlin R WElch

November 30 2010 at 10:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply