In the Courts
A federal appeals court rejected Comcast‘s challenge to the FCC‘s refusal to grant it a waiver from the July ’07 set-top integration ban. "While we are disappointed in this decision, we will continue to actively deploy digital services to our consumers," a Comcast rep said. "Our only interest has been to facilitate and accelerate the digital transition for our customers in the most cost effective fashion. We’ve announced plans to help even more consumers to go digital faster and economically and we will continue to bring innovative services to consumers." The DC Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last month, and at the time, court watchers predicted Comcast’s chances of prevailing weren’t good ( Cfax , 4/9). The integration ban requires all cable ops not receive waivers to deploy costlier boxes featuring CableCards. The court said it thinks the FCC’s explanation of why Comcast wasn’t granted a wavier was "quite reasonable." In writing the decision, released Friday, Judge Laurence Silberman said that the FCC doesn’t have a commitment to grant waivers to all low-cost set-tops, having said it only would "consider" such waivers. If Comcast feels it’s at a competitive disadvantage against video providers that have received waivers, the court suggested it could petition the FCC to revoke those waivers granted by the Media Bureau. "At that time, the FCC must either revoke the other waivers or offer a reasoned explanation for why it rejected Comcast’s waiver but granted the others," Silberman wrote. Comcast said it never appealed those waivers because it agreed with them.