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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 12, 2011

Comcast under Fire for Squeezing out Tennis Channel

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Web Editor

The Tennis Channel is a small, independent Santa Monica-based channel that is firing up a legal suit against the U.S.’s largest cable provider, Comcast (News - Alert). The smaller company’s argument is that the cable giant has unfairly discriminated against it in video programming distribution.

Having been mostly squeezed out of the most recent worldwide popular Wimbledon tennis competition in terms of broadcasting, the Tennis Channel has sought the help of the FCC (News - Alert), which has answered in kind. The Federal Communications Commission is recommending that Comcast be sanctioned for its discrimination towards the Tennis Channel, according to reports.

Gary Oshinsky, attorney for the FCC has issued statements in favor of the Tennis Channel’s complaint, noting, "Comcast's discriminatory conduct unreasonably restrained the ability of Tennis Channel to compete fairly.”

Comcast has allegedly unfairly favored the Golf Channel and Versus, two competing sports channels, on its broadcasting network. The cable giant denies the accusations, but has been recommended to make the Tennis Channel more widely available by Oshinsky, in addition to paying a $375,000 penalty.

Oshinsky continued, "The Bureau submits that Tennis Channel has satisfied its burden of demonstrating that Comcast has discriminated against Tennis Channel in video programming distribution.” Comcast is certainly going to have a time on its hands denying these claims already sanctioned by the FCC.

The two companies are supposed to make their verbal arguments for a judge in Washington, D.C. today, July 12. The judge will then submit his or her ruling to the FCC, which will issue the final verdict.

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca