Boston Battles Back for Basic Rate Control

The city of Boston says Comcast's math does not add up, and
that it should still be able to regulate basic rates.

That came in a response to Comcast's request that the FCCrescind the city's recently won ability to regulate those rates.

The FCC's Media Bureau recertified the city back in April,
citing changed circumstances in the 10 years since RCN was considered
sufficient competition under the less stringent local exchange carrier
effective competition test. But the FCC stayed the effectiveness of that ruling
until Comcast had a chance to petition to decertify under a multichannel video
provider test.

Comcast argues that under that test, combining DirecTV subs
with Dish subs with RCN subs yields a figure of 18.37% of occupied
households according to the 2010 census. The threshold for meeting the
competition standard is 15% of the market.

In its response, Boston attorneys said that RCN's numbers
should not be counted, and that without them, it cannot meet the competitive
provider standard. They also argue that Comcast counts dormitories and
"other facilities" in its sub count numerator, but not in its
occupied households denominator, providing a skewed picture.

"The fact that Comcast even can suggest (wrongly) that
it faces ‘effective' competition under these circumstances indicates that it is
time for Congress and the Commission to reexamine what constitutes effective
competition," the city argues.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.