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NFL Network files complaint against Comcast with FCC

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 8:05am
Mike Robuck

Yesterday, the NFL Network filed its complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over Comcast’s decision to place NFL Network programming on a premium sports tier instead of including it in a basic cable package.

Last month, the NFL Network served Comcast with a notice that it planned to file the complaint (story here), but there was a waiting period before it could file the complaint with the FCC.

The NFL Network and Comcast have long been at odds over Comcast’s decision to place the network on a premium sports tier that customers must pay on average of $5 per month more for. The NFL Network first sued Comcast in 2006.

The NFL Network has said that Comcast’s decision to carry its programming on premium sports tiers violates the program carriage portion of the Cable Act of 1992. While Comcast has yet to see the filing, it anticipates that the NFL Network will say the tnation’s largest cable operator is favoring its own programming, such as Versus, over independent producers.

Comcast filed a suit of its own against the NFL Network late last year that said the league was trying to persuade its subscribers to cancel their contracts, which would have violated the contract terms.

Comcast previously won a judge’s ruling in its favor, only to have that ruling overturned by an appeals court in February. The case is now with a lower court after the appeals court said that the contract language between the NFL Network and Comcast was too ambiguous.

The NFL Network features round-the-clock news on all things related to the NFL, as well as broadcasting eight regular season games live. The NFL-owned NFL Network did allow the season-ending game between the undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants to be carried in simulcast on CBS and NBC after some fans complained about missing the historic game.

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