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FCC To Hear Tennis Channel, Comcast Dispute

  • B&C, Wednesday, November 24, 2010 12:20 AM
Comcast confirms that its outside mediation with Tennis Channel to try to resolve a carriage complaint has failed and the dispute will now go before an FCC administrative law judge. The FCC designated the dispute for a hearing last month, saying there were "substantial and material question of fact as to whether Comcast has engaged in conduct that violates the program carriage provisions of the ACT and the Commission's rules."

The judge will make a finding based on the evidence presented, though the commission has the ultimate decision on the complaint. The FCC made clear that beyond a finding that, contrary to Comcast assertions, the statute of limitations on the complaint had not run out, the jury is still out on the merits of the case. But the FCC's Media Bureau said in referring the complaint to the judge, that on the face of it, Tennis Channel has made a case for program carriage discrimination by Comcast. The judge will look at the case de novo, meaning from scratch, and is directed not to take that FCC determination into account.



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