Bloomberg has filed a formal complaint against Comcast, claiming that they are not meeting the conditions imposed by the FCC in the provisions that allowed the NBCU/Comcast merger. Bloomberg alleges that they are being deliberately excluded from “neighborhoods” of channels, and Comcast’s counter-claim is that Bloomberg’s position in channel line ups is the same as it was before the merger, and that they are using a “faulty” definition of a neighborhood, using other pay TV providers’ collections of ten or more channels as their definition of a neighborhood.
Here in South Saint Paul, MN, however, it doesn’t seem that there is any particular news neighborhood at all, with channels in the 20’s, 30’s, 60’s, 70’s, 100’s, 200’s and 250’s, if you count CNN HD. Also there are no more than three consecutive news channels in any decade (unless you count E!) However, Bloomberg is the furthest away from most of the other news channels, at channel 251 (excluding CNN HD, the next highest channel is Fox Business News at 106). Bloomberg is also the only news channel “above” the movie channels, HD simulcasts, and local digital broadcasts (including their sub-channels and HD simulcasts), putting it extremely far out of the way from it’s nearest peer (37 pages of channel listings away on Comcast’s standard definition boxes).
Perhaps it is time for Comcast to reconfigure their channel line-up. Not only because of the charges brought by Bloomberg, but because the existing channel line-up has channels broadly spread out. For two years I lived in an area where Verizon FiOS TV was available, and its large neighborhoods of channels made browsing for something to watch much easier (and it didn’t hurt that they had a very broad selection of news channels for me to get a variety of analysis from)