After Comcast Corp’s December 2009 announcement that it intended to purchase a 51% stake in NBC Universal from General Electric, it was finally granted approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice.  The deal is set to close within the next two weeks.  Upon closure, Bloomberg notes that Comcast will receive the NBC television network, broadcast stations, cable channels, a selection of over 4,000 movies, and part ownership of the popular online video site, Hulu.

Because Comcast is the largest cable company and top broadband provider in the United States, many were worried about the fate of its competition.  The FCC and the Department of Justice made strides to protect against this by including several conditions into the approval, many of which will last seven years.

One of the stipulations is that Comcast Corp will give up its management rights to Hulu.  In addition, NBC Universal programs were asked to be made available to web streaming sites other than Hulu.  This may occur as long as these sites have deals with at least one NBC rival.

Following all of the recent discussions on net neutrality, Comcast was asked not to discriminate between its own content and services and those of other companies in order to protect the online-video market.  It is not to interfere with subscriber net traffic nor is it allowed to force consumers to subscribe to cable in order to view something of interest on the web.  Related to this stipulation is Comcast’s obligation to provide standalone broadband service at an affordable price for the next three years.