An administrative judge said a full hearing is necessary to decide whether there’s merit in the NFL Network’s charge that Comcast is being discriminatory by placing the NFLN’s content on a premium tier.
The practical result is that for yet another year, games on the NFL Network are not available through the country’s largest cable operator.
That’s no skin off Comcast’s nose. The NFL Network is charging significantly more than most other networks – 75 cents per sub, according to reports. Comcast has no interest in passing the added cost along to all of its subs – in effect raising prices to suit football fans. Comcast wants to put the NFLN on a premium tier where it can justify the additional charge. The NFL Network isn’t satisfied with a smaller audience.
The FCC had determined that Comcast had discriminated against the NFL Network and sent the matter to Administrative Law Judge Arthur I. Steinberg, who was given 60 days to reach a decision on this complaint and several others involving Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable. The judge said there was no way to make decisions in that short of a period, and that full hearings will be necessary. It is not possible for full hearings to begin and end before the conclusion of the 2008-09 NFL regular season.
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