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Specter Fights FCC Over NFL Net

Sen. Arlen Specter is fighting a possible adoption of Federal Communications Commission rules that could give the nascent NFL Network an edge in its negotiations with Comcast and Time Warner Cable. "The only possible outcome would be higher costs to consumers," the Pennsylvania Republican says in a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who supports the NFL Network in its dispute with major cable operators.

Martin wants rules that would give the NFL Network the ability to invoke compulsory arbitration that would likely mean it could reach many more subscribers -- and get higher license fees -- than it can from current talks with the MSOs. But Specter says the NFL Network does not need help from the feds.

"The National Football League (NFL), owner of the NFL Network, wields tremendous power," he writes. "Indeed, I am hard-pressed to think of a commercial enterprise that similarly dominates the market that it serves; and its power continues to grow. The proposition that an enterprise with such vast market power needs the government to intervene on its behalf in business negotiations is simply untenable."

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