Programming

No Ruling on NFL Network Complaint Against Comcast Until After June 11

Post-trial filing dates outlined 4/23/2009 03:51:06 PM Eastern

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 outlined in an order by Judge Sippel.

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.

Sippel is already into his second program carriage hearing-NFL v. Comcast ended last Friday-this one involving WealthTV and 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.

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