Today, the FCC's Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel released his initial decision in the matter of Tennis Channel's program carriage complaint against Comcast.
We respectfully disagree with the initial decision. Comcast has the contractual right to distribute Tennis Channel as we do currently, and Comcast firmly believes that the exercise of that right to minimize costs to consumers is not discrimination. Many other companies with no ownership interest in Tennis Channel have made similar carriage decisions and some refuse to carry Tennis Channel at all. Moreover, this decision purports to supersede an existing contract between two private parties, which is unprecedented in the program carriage context.
The ruling issued today is only an initial decision, and is subject to further review by the full Commission and then, if needed, the U.S. Court of Appeals. We believe it is wrong for Tennis Channel to use the government to impose higher costs and prices on private enterprise and consumers and we look forward to the review process.