Boston Battles Back for Basic Rate Control

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The city of Boston says Comcast's math does not add up, and that it should still be able to regulate basic rates.

That came in a response to Comcast's request that the Federal Communications Commission rescind the city's recently won ability to regulate those rates.

The FCC's Media Bureau recertified the city back in April, citing changed circumstances in the 10 years since RCN was considered sufficient competition under the less stringent local exchange carrier effective competition test. But the FCC stayed the effectiveness of that ruling until Comcast had a chance to petition to decertify under a multichannel video provider test.

Comcast argues that under that test, combining DirecTV subs with Dish subs with RCN subs yields a figure of 18.37% of occupied households according to the 2010 census. The threshold for meeting the competition standard is 15% of the market.

In its response, Boston attorneys said that RCN's numbers should not be counted, and that without them, it cannot meet the competitive provider standard.

They also argue that Comcast counts dormitories and "other facilities" in its sub count numerator, but not in its occupied households denominator, providing a skewed picture.

"The fact that Comcast even can suggest (wrongly) that it faces 'effective' competition under these circumstances indicates that it is time for Congress and the Commission to reexamine what constitutes effective competition," according to the city.