Comcast Clear To Fight 30% Cap

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Washington – The Federal Communications Commission’s new cable ownership rules were published Friday in the Federal Register, an event that allows Comcast to challenge the policy in court.

Adopted last December, the FCC’s rules bar one cable company from serving more than 30% of pay-TV subscribers nationally, a restriction that Comcast said is unreasonable when its competition includes monster phone companies like AT&T and Verizon.

Comcast has 26.1 million subscribers, or 27% market share, under FCC rules. Under a 30% cap, Comcast couldn’t buy Time Warner Cable (13.3 million subscribers) or Charter (5.3 million subscribers), thought it could likely acquire acquire Cablevision’s 3.1 million subscribers

Comcast -- which has twice vowed to take the FCC to court -- considers the agency vulnerable to reversal because the FCC revived the same 30% cap that a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeal rejected in 2001.

Comcast can begin to litigate now, but the 30% cap doesn’t take formal effect until March 31.

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