Tennis Channel Asks FCC to Force Comcast Compliance With ALJ Ruling


Tennis Channel has asked the Federal Communications Commission to force Comcast to comply with the terms of the Administrative Law Judge ruling that the MSO violated the program carriage rules by favoring its own similarly situated networks, Golf Channel and Versus, now known as the NBC Sports Network.

"The Chief Judge ordered Comcast to remedy its discrimination by providing equal carriage treatment
'as soon as practicable," wrote Tennis Channel in its complaint, according to a copy supplied to Multichannel News.

In the complaint, Tennis said the language is clear that such a ruling becomes effective upon release, though it is subject to appeal to the commission, which Comcast has done.

The ALJ decision also says the ruling becomes effective unless "exceptions" to it are lodged, which Comcast has done in spades, even asking for a waiver of the 25-page limit for such appeals to it can add another 15 pages worth of exceptions.

"The factual and legal issues presented in the Initial Decision are complex and raise serious questions before the Commission, including but not limited to whether the Initial Decision is consistent with Commission precedent, and whether its unprecedented mandatory carriage remedy violates the First Amendment," Comcast said in its motion for more pages.

But Tennis, which has been returned to Verizon FiOS systems through a new carriage agreement with the telco, says it would be hurt by delayed implementation.

"It would punish Tennis Channel and reward Comcast for its discrimination by allowing Comcast to avoid compliance even after it has been found to have violated Section 616-a violation found by the ALl to be sufficiently egregious to warrant the imposition of the largest forfeiture available to the Commission under the law," said the channel in its filing.

That payment is $375,000.