Comcast Seeks Suspension Of Dish Arbitration Order Against Three RSNs

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In the wake of Dish cutting off Comcast SportsNet California at midnight on Nov. 24, following a loss in an FCC arbitration hearing, Comcast sent an email to FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake to consider the suspension of arbitration proceedings involving Dish versus three of its other RSNs.
The email, sent to Lake on Nov. 24, explains how Dish cut off CSN California 12 hours after an FCC arbitrator -- the proceedings were enacted by the DBS provider under a condition established by the commission for the approval of Comcast's purchase of Adelphia Communications in 2006 -- had ruled favorably for the RSN.

Dish then "unilaterally terminated" its carriage of the network, "depriving hundreds of thousands of consumers of this highly valued programming."

CSN California and Dish had been out of contract since September 2009, but remained on the DBS company's air until today.
The missive then mentions that there are other Dish arbitrations demands pending against three other Comcast RSNs, and that Comcast fears that if the No. 2 DBS provider is "unhappy with any of the results in these related matters," it might do the same thing, thus depriving millions of the sports fare.
Dish and Comcast also are out of contract with CSN Chicago, CSN Mid-Atlantic and CSN Bay Area.
Comcast's letter concludes by asking for a meeting to consider these issues and "an immediate suspension of the arbitration order with respect to Dish."
It also said it would be "useful" to have Dish representatives attend the meetings.
FCC officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

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