No Decision In NFL Network's FCC Program Carriage Case Until June 11


There will be no decision from FCC Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel on the NFL Network program carriage complaint against Comcast until after June 11.

That is the takeaway from a just-released timetable of post-trial filing dates for information and comments oulined in an order by Judge Sippel. The proceeding concluded on April 18.

As part of the process, both sides in the case provide their recommendations on what the decision should be, which is due June 8. Comments on the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, which is a party to the case, are due June 11.

The judge will make his decision sometime after that, though he noted the commission's "requirement of expedited conclusion."

But there is only so much expediting Sippel can do. His decision won't be final. Once he has made his ruling, the full commission must still vote on whether or not there was discrimination.

In the meantime, NFL Network's contract with Comcast expires on April 30 and the expectation is that the service won't be part of the operator's service tier past that date.

Sippel is already into his second program carriage hearing, with WealthTV challenging a quartet of major MSOs. Given a similar time frame, that decision won't be out until late June at the earliest.

The third and final-for the moment, carriage complaint hearing is scheduled to start May 19. It had been slated to start May 6, but one of the lawyers needed to move the date, according to a source.