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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
COMCAST CORPORATION ) NAL/Acct. No. 200532080004
) File No. EB-03-IH-0558
Operator of Cable Television ) FRN No. 0006329247
Systems in Numerous Communities )
Adopted: October 21, 2004 Released: October 22,
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. As a result of the Commission's receipt of a complaint
jointly filed on November 26, 2003, by the Communications Workers
of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers (the ``Complaint''), the Enforcement Bureau has been
investigating whether Comcast Corporation (``Comcast''), which
operates various cable television systems through subsidiary
entities, may have willfully and repeatedly violated the
requirements of the cable public inspection file rules, 47 C.F.R.
§§ 76.1700 et seq.
2. The Bureau and Comcast have negotiated the terms of a
Consent Decree, a copy of which is attached hereto and
incorporated by reference. After reviewing the terms of the
Consent Decree, we find that the public interest would be served
by approving the Consent Decree and terminating the captioned
investigation. We also conclude that, in the absence of material
new information not previously disclosed to the Bureau, the
matters raised in the investigation do not raise any substantial
and material questions of fact regarding Comcast's qualifications
to be a Commission licensee.
3 Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 4(i) of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,1 that the attached
Consent Decree IS ADOPTED.
4. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the above-captioned
investigation involving Comcast IS TERMINATED, and that the
Complaint and all related filings ARE DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1. The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications
Commission and Comcast Corporation hereby enter into this Consent
Decree for the purpose of resolving and terminating an
investigation currently being conducted by the Enforcement Bureau
regarding alleged violations by Comcast of the Cable Public File
Rule, as defined herein.
2. For purposes of this Consent Decree, the following
definitions shall apply:
1)a. ``Act'' means the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.
1)b. ``Adopting Order'' means an order of the
Bureau adopting this Consent Decree, without any
modifications adverse to Comcast.
1)c. ``Any'' shall be construed to include the
word ``all,'' and the word ``all'' shall be
construed to include the word ``any.''
Additionally, the word ``or'' shall be construed
to include the word ``and,'' and the word ``and''
shall be construed to include the word ``or.''
The word ``each'' shall be construed to include
the word ``every,'' and the word ``every'' shall
be construed to include the word ``each.''
1)d. ``Bureau'' means the FCC's Enforcement
1)e. ``Cable Operator'' has the definition
contained in 47 U.S.C. § 522(5).
1)f. ``Cable Public File Rule'' refers to the
provisions of 47 C.F.R. § 76.1700 et seq., which
require that an operator of a cable television
system having more than one thousand subscribers
maintain for public inspection a file containing
1)g. ``Commission'' or ``FCC'' means the Federal
1)h. ``Comcast'' means Comcast Corporation and its
direct and indirect subsidiaries that are Cable
1)i. ``Complaint'' means the November 26, 2003,
joint complaint filed with the Commission by the
Communications Workers of America and the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
1)j. ``Complainants'' means the Communications
Workers of America and the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
1)k. ``Effective Date'' means the date on which
the Bureau releases the Adopting Order.
1)l. ``Final Order'' means that, with respect to
the Adopting Order: (1) no request for stay or
similar request is pending, no stay is in effect,
the Adopting Order has not been vacated, reversed,
set aside, annulled or suspended, and any deadline
for filing such request that may be designated by
statute or regulation has passed; (2) no timely
petition for rehearing or reconsideration of the
Adopting Order, or protest of any kind, is pending
before the FCC and the time for filing any such
petition or protest is passed; (3) the FCC does
not have the Adopting Order under reconsideration
or review on its own motion and the time for such
reconsideration or review has passed; and (4) the
Adopting Order is not then under judicial review,
there is no notice of appeal or other application
for judicial review pending, and the deadline for
filing such notice of appeal or other application
for judicial review has passed.
1)m. ``Investigation'' means the Bureau's
investigation, in its File No. EB-03-IH-0558, of
violations alleged in the Complaint that resulted
in letters of inquiry being sent by the Bureau to
Comcast on December 5, 2003, and May 27 and August
1)n. ``Parties'' means the Bureau and Comcast
collectively, and ``Party'' refers to the Bureau
and Comcast, individually.
3. On November 26, 2003, Complainants filed their
Complaint with the Commission. The Complaint stated that the
Complainants are labor organizations that represent about 2000
Comcast employees and that their members are also consumers of
cable services. The Complaint reported that, on October 29,
2003, Complainants' representatives visited 225 separate Comcast
offices and requested to inspect public files and allegedly found
violations of the Cable Public File Rule in numerous offices.
4. On December 5, the Bureau directed Comcast to address
the allegations contained in the Complaint. Comcast filed its
response on December 22, to which the Complainants filed a reply
on January 20, 2004. After reviewing Comcast's response and the
Complainants' reply, the Bureau issued a letter of inquiry to
Comcast on May 27, to which Comcast responded on July 6. On
August 13, the Bureau issued a supplemental letter of inquiry, to
which Comcast responded on August 25.
5. In its responses to the Complaint and to the Bureau's
inquiries, Comcast maintained that, in the vast majority of
situations cited by the Complainants, Comcast had complied with
the Cable Public File Rule. In particular, Comcast contended
that the rule does not require that a public file be maintained
at every office, or in every community, but instead requires that
a public file be maintained at only one location per "system."
Comcast represented that, in several markets, local personnel had
consolidated the public inspection files of a number of cable
systems in the company's principal administrative offices located
outside of the service areas of the systems. Comcast also
stated that, in some cases, the system file documenting political
ad sales was maintained at the location where advertising sales
were made rather than where the remainder of the system public
file was situated. Comcast also represented that, in a small
number of cases, it did not make its system public files
accessible to Complainants' representatives on October 29, 2003
as promptly as they should have been. Comcast fully reported
these circumstances in its responses to the Bureau.
6. The Parties acknowledge that a consent decree to
address the matters that are the subject of the Investigation is
in the public interest. The Parties agree that continuation of
the Investigation and any further proceedings will be time-
consuming and will require substantial expenditure of public and
private resources. In order to conserve such resources, to
resolve the Investigation, and to promote Comcast's future
compliance with the Cable Public File Rule, the Parties are
entering into this Consent Decree, in consideration of the mutual
commitments made herein.
7. The Parties agree that the provisions of this Consent
Decree shall be subject to approval by the Bureau by
incorporation of such provisions by reference in an Adopting
8. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree shall become
effective on the Effective Date and shall remain in effect for
three (3) years thereafter. Upon release, the Adopting Order and
this Consent Decree shall have the same force and effect as any
other orders of the Bureau and any violation of the terms of this
Consent Decree shall constitute a violation of a Commission
order, entitling the Commission or the Bureau, pursuant to
delegated authority, to exercise any rights and remedies
attendant to the enforcement of a Commission order.
9. As part of the Adopting Order, the Bureau shall
terminate the Investigation and dismiss the Complaint and all
related filings. From and after the Effective Date, in the
absence of the discovery of material new information not
previously disclosed to the Bureau, the Bureau shall not, either
on its own motion or in response to any petition, third-party
objection, complaint, or other information, initiate any
inquiries, investigations, forfeiture proceedings, hearings, or
other actions, formal or informal, against Comcast for alleged
violations of the Cable Public File Rule prior to the Effective
Date. The Bureau shall not use the underlying facts or conduct
relating to any of the foregoing prior to the Effective Date for
any purpose relating to Comcast, and shall treat all such matters
as null and void for all purposes.
10. Comcast represents that, in addition to its existing
policies and procedures, it has adopted, is currently in the
process of implementing, and agrees to abide by a compliance plan
(the ``Compliance Plan'') for the purpose of ensuring compliance
with the Cable Public File Rule, which is set forth in the
Appendix attached hereto. Comcast agrees, to the extent it has
not already done so, to implement this Compliance Plan no later
than thirty (30) days after the Effective Date and to keep such
Compliance Plan in effect, where applicable, for three (3) years
after the Effective Date. Comcast reserves the right to revise
the Plan from time to time, provided that the Bureau shall be
given not less than thirty (30) days advance written notice of
any material revisions to the plan.
11. Within five (5) business days after the Adopting Order
becomes a Final Order, Comcast shall make a voluntary
contribution (not a forfeiture or a penalty) to the United
States Treasury in the amount of Two Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Dollars ($225,000.00). The payment must be made by check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. The payment must include Acct. No.
200532080004 and FRN No. 0006329247. Payment by check or money
order may be mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section, Finance
Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482,
Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. Payment by overnight mail may be
sent to Bank One/LB 73482, 525 West Monroe, 8th Floor Mailroom,
Chicago, Illinois 60661. Payment by wire transfer may be made to
ABA Number 071000013, receiving bank Bank One, and account number
1165259. With the exception, pursuant to Paragraph 8 hereof, of
any action taken as the result of the Bureau's discovery of
material new information not previously disclosed to it, the
Bureau agrees not to seek any further voluntary or involuntary
contributions or payments from Comcast to the United States
Treasury for alleged violations of the Cable Public File Rule
prior to the Effective Date. Comcast's decision to enter into
this Consent Decree is expressly contingent upon the issuance of
an Adopting Order by the Bureau which adopts this Consent Decree
without change, addition or modification.
12. Comcast waives any and all rights it may have to seek
administrative or judicial reconsideration, review, appeal or
stay, or to otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this
Consent Decree and the Adopting Order, provided no modifications
are made to the Consent Decree materially adverse to Comcast
prior to the Effective Date. If the Bureau, the Commission, or
the United States acting on its behalf, brings a judicial action
to enforce the terms of the Adopting Order or this Consent
Decree, or both, Comcast will not contest the validity of this
Consent Decree or of the Adopting Order. If Comcast brings a
judicial action to enforce the terms of the Adopting Order or
this Consent Decree, or both, neither the Bureau, the Commission
nor the United States will contest the validity of this Consent
Decree or of the Adopting Order. Comcast retains the right to
challenge the Bureau or the Commission's interpretation of this
Consent Decree or interpretation of any terms contained therein.
Nothing herein shall restrict Comcast from challenging on any
basis, any future enforcement action relating to the Cable Public
File Rule, except as otherwise provided herein.
13. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree does not
constitute either an adjudication on the merits or a factual or
legal determination regarding any compliance or noncompliance by
Comcast with the requirements of the Act or the Cable Public
File Rule prior to the Effective Date. The Parties agree that
this Consent Decree and Comcast's voluntary contribution are for
settlement purposes only and that, by agreeing to this Consent
Decree, Comcast does not admit or deny any wrongdoing, non-
compliance or violation of the Act or the Public File Rule in
connection with the matters that are the subject of this Consent
14. In the event that this Consent Decree is rendered
invalid in any court of competent jurisdiction, it shall become
null and void and may not be used in any manner in any legal
15. Comcast hereby agrees to waive any claims it may
otherwise have under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. §
504 and 47 C.F.R. § 1.1501 et seq., relating to the matters
addressed in this Consent Decree.
16. Each Party represents and warrants to the other that it
has full power and authority to enter into this Consent Decree.
17. This Consent Decree may be executed in counterparts.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon, Chief
Arthur R. Block, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Date: _________________________________ APPENDIX
Within thirty (30) days of the Effective Date, except as
otherwise noted below, Comcast will review all public inspection
file procedures and personnel training practices and will modify
and implement them as appropriate to ensure that the public
inspection file for each Comcast technically integrated cable
system will be complete, up-to-date, and promptly available to
the public during normal business operations at a location within
the geographic area served by that system. In particular,
Comcast will complete and implement the following measures within
that timeframe to ensure future compliance with the Commission's
Cable Public File Rule:
(a) Compliance Manual: Comcast will revise its Compliance
Manual to include the following information: Employee Training,
Instruction Cards, Delegations of Authority, Consumer Information
and Review and Monitoring.
(b) Employee Training: Comcast will develop and conduct Public
File Awareness Training regarding public inspection file
locations and access procedures for employees working at Comcast
offices who have on-site customer contact such as receptionists
and front counter personnel. Comcast will also train several
employees at each public inspection file location on public
inspection file maintenance and public file access procedures,
Public File Awareness Training and training on public inspection
file maintenance and access procedures will be completed within
ninety (90) days of the Effective Date. New or transferred
employees in these positions will undergo such training within
thirty (30) days of their commencement of work at the position.
(c) Instruction Cards: To ensure consistent and timely access to
the public inspection files, Comcast will provide all employees
who have customer contact at each public inspection file location
with an instruction card to advise them about public inspection
file access procedures. Comcast will also provide employees at
other Comcast system offices who have customer contact with a
card providing the address of and directions to the location
within the system at which the file is maintained.
(d) Delegations of Authority: In addition to the aforementioned
training programs, each Comcast Division will implement a program
for its systems to ensure familiarity with Comcast Policies and
FCC Regulations governing public inspection files. Comcast will
designate a Public Inspection File Coordinator for each Division
who will coordinate the training and oversee the public file
activities of all Comcast employees having public inspection file
responsibilities within the Division.
(e) Consumer Information: Comcast will maintain a sign which is
in conspicuous public view at all offices serving the public
identifying the location of the Public Inspection File for each
system as of the Effective Date. Within sixty (60) days of the
Effective Date, Comcast will also post the locations of all
Public Inspection Files at its company webpage at
www.Comcast.com. As soon as practicable, but in no event later
than one hundred twenty (120) days of the Effective Date, Comcast
will also notify each customer in writing of the location of the
public inspection file of the customer's system and will do so
(f) Review and Monitoring: To ensure that these policies are
implemented and maintained, Comcast will augment its existing
internal audit program to provide for at least one Public
Inspection File audit per year by each system's Divisional safety
contact and a monthly inspection by each system's Public
Inspection File administrator.
1 47 U.S.C. § 154(i).