Level 3 seeks 'unfettered access' as condition of Comcast-NBCU merger

Some news must be reported even though it's as predictable as a sunrise. Thus, it's important to note that Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) wants federal antitrust types to throw conditions on Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBC Universal merger.

At the top of its list of conditions, Level 3 wants the new Comcast-NBCU networks to provide "unfettered access" to all Internet content (although the carrier would probably be content if its Netflix-heavy traffic got through.)

Level 3 is in a traffic dispute with Comcast, which it claims erected a "toll booth" to extract more money to receive and push through Level 3's increasingly heavy load of video-based content to its last mile networks and onto consumers. Comcast said the dispute is about traffic peering and has nothing to do with blocking competitive content. Level 3, however, feels this dispute is just a harbinger of what might happen if Comcast was allowed to get even stronger and "leverage their relationships with broadband consumers in an anticompetitive manner" and thus would like the feds to step in an throw down some conditions.

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