In documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, the US cable giant accused companies of extortion in demanding favours in return for their silence over the deal.
Comcast named Discovery, Netflix, Cogent Communications, Dish Network and advertising agency Viamedia as making unreasonable demands.
It said requests had been made to renew carriage fee deals not due to expire, renew agreements on a single date, and grant carriage for channels that were yet to be created.
Discovery Channel came in for particular criticism with Comcast telling the FCC that the broadcaster “like many other programmers, is improperly using this proceeding to promote its own financial interests.
“In fact, Discovery demanded unwarranted business concessions from Comcast as a condition of Discovery’s non-opposition to this transaction,” said Comcast.
In a written statement to the media Discovery said it stood by its concerns that a merged company might impose onerous terms that jeopardise the ability of independent programmers like Discovery to continue investing in a diverse portfolio of content and brands.
“Comcast chooses to not talk about the substantial program discounts they currently get, or what they would do post-merger to demand extreme discounts from cable programmers or block the launch of new networks and brands,” the programmer said.
Comcast also argued that Netflix was effectively asking all subscribers to broadband services to cover their transmission costs, regardless of whether they had signed up to the streaming service.
The FCC is deliberating of the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the two largest cable providers in the US, is in the public interest.