UPDATE: 6:20 PM: Bloomberg LP has responded to Comcast’s rebuttal with a statement this evening saying it is confident that the FCC will enforce the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger conditions that “Comcast expressly accepted,” including the one that guarantees protections for independent sources of news. “Despite these strongly worded concerns, Comcast is not obeying clearly defined conditions, as Comcast continues to assert that ‘now’ does not mean ‘now’ and that their programming neighborhoods are not neighborhoods,” says Bloomberg head of government affairs Greg Babyak.
PREVIOUS, 5:15 PM: You won’t want to mess with Comcast’s lawyers when you see how much work they just put into refuting Bloomberg TV’s charge that the cable giant is playing an unfair game with its channel lineup. The financial news service complained to the FCC last month that Comcast is helping a channel it owns — CNBC — by relegating Bloomberg to the nose-bleed section of the cable dial. That allegedly violates Comcast’s agreement, when government officials approved its purchase of NBCUniversal, not to discriminate against competitors. Today, Comcast told the FCC in a 75-page filing that Bloomberg’s request to be moved close to CNBC in a news “neighborhood” would “confuse and frustrate customers” by creating a domino effect of channel relocations. ”In some cases, adjacent channel positions are occupied by broadcasters with statutory rights to be carried on their off-air channel positions or other positions where they have had historical carriage,” Comcast says. And other channel spots are “occupied by popular cable networks that Comcast would be required to displace from their long-standing channel positions in order to accommodate (Bloomberg) and other independent news networks.” Besides, Comcast says, it didn’t go out of its way to protect CNBC: It put Bloomberg high on the dial way before it bought NBCU. OK, Bloomberg lawyers — it’s your turn.