Washington

Comcast Won't Challenge FCC's Closing of Terrestrial Exemption

Roberts reserves right to "defend" company if complaints should be filed 3/16/2010 09:32:01 PM Eastern

Comcast has pledged not to challenge the FCC's tightening/closing of the terrestrial exemption last fall, either at the FCC or in the courts.

That was the word from Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts in written answers to various Senate Judiciary Committee members, according to a copy of the those answers.

That followed a hearing last week in the committee on the proposed Comcast/NBCU joint venture.

In a response to Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) when asked whether he would promise not to appeal it in either venue, Roberts answered "yes" to both. He also said he would not urge "any trade group to which you belong" to challenge it, though he said Comcast would not try to prevent it from doing so.

Roberts said he wanted to put those answers into context. While he said Comcast had decided not to appeal the order, he "reserved the right to defend ourselves if any complaints should be filed."

He also defended the exemption, saying that "Congress believed, and it turns out to have been correct, that not applying program access rules to terrestrially delivered programming would promote the development of local and regional programming."

He also pointed out that there is only one Comcast-affiliated network across its 39-state footprint that the company has not made available to all competitors--Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, and that it is ready to do so as soon as DirecTV relinquished its exclusive access to NFL Sunday Ticket.

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