A FCC administrative law judge will hear complaints from the NFL Network against Comcast. The complaints stem from Comcast’s decision to move the NFL Network to a premium sports tier, which means subscribers have to pay extra if they chose to receive the NFL Network. The NFL Network alleges this constitutes discrimination on the part of Comcast.
Specifically, the NFL Network alleges that Comcast is discriminating by:
1. “[carrying] the NFL Network on a premium digital sports tier for which subscribers must pay substantial extra fees while uniformly carrying sports channels that it owns on an analog basic tier that entails no extra cost for subscribers,” and 2) “[B]y dropping the NFL Network from its highly-penetrated digital basic tier in the wake of a decision by the National Football League not to grant Comcast telecast rights [for] a valuable program package of eight, live football games for Versus, a competing Comcast-owned sports channel.”
Comcast’s arguments basically whittle down to the fact that they still offer the NFL Network, and that they are giving consumers the choice of whether or not to pay for the channel. There’s no word on exactly how long this could be before the judge, or what further actions could be taken, but FCC Chairman Michael Copps has said he wants the matter resolved “as expeditiously as possible.”