Comcast is the biggest cable provider in the United States, and now a U.S. Court of Appeals decision states that it can grow even bigger. Yay! Yay?
The FCC and Comcast have been fighting this out in FCC panels and courtrooms off and on since ownership limits were put in place in the early ’90s. The limits stated that no company could be large enough to serve 30% of all consumers with cable.
Now, the court agrees, satellite and fiber optic services are valid competitors to cable, and the threat of Comcast world domination is no longer as scary. Oh, yeah, and limiting how many customers they can have is infringing on Comcast’s First Amendment rights:
Comcast told the court the limit violated its First Amendment right to speak to cable subscribers, and that the FCC didn’t account for an increase in provider choices available to customers. Satellite TV companies such as DirecTV and Dish doubled their number of subscribers in the seven years leading up to the FCC’s decision, Comcast said in a brief.
Today the court adopted Comcast’s reasoning. It cited satellite companies and those that send programming over fiber- optic cables, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.
“Speak to cable customers”?
Comcast currently serves about 25% of households in the United States. The company has no current plans to buy up smaller providers and/or competitors.
Comcast Wins Appeal of FCC’s Cable Market-Share Limit [Bloomberg News]