Comcast will not challenge the March 12 D.C. Circuit court decision upholding
the FCC's program access rules.
"We will not appeal," said a Comcast spokeswoman.
Cablevision, which also challenged the prohibition on
exclusive contracts for programming in which a cable operator has a financial
interest, said Friday it is considering its options. That would
include appealing the 2-1 decision to the full court. The dissenting judge
said he thought the rule should have been thrown out as discriminatory and a
violation of the First Amendment.
But Comcast has been trying to craft voluntary conditions on
its proposed joint venture with NBCU to make it more palatable in Washington. That has
included accepting program access condition even if the court overturned them.
But in the ruling Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington said the FCC
had sufficiently justified its decision that the marketplace was not
sufficiently competitive to warrant lifting the prohibition. But it also said
the marketplace seemed to be changing rapidly enough that by 2012, when the
rules are set to expire, they will likely no longer be needed.