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Comcast Files Official FCC Response to 'Word' Complaint

Comcast says the FCC should deny the carriage complaint lodged by The Word Network and prevent it from being refiled.

That is according to Comcast's official—51-page—response to the complaint, which the cable operator filed with the FCC's Media Bureau.

The Word Network is a religious network targeted to African Americans.

Comcast argues that it made a reasonable business decision to expand carriage of Impact, an unaffiliated 100% African American-owned network, and reduce carriage of The Word.

"Comcast reasonably concluded that Word viewers would be able to watch much of the programming they enjoy on other networks if Comcast were to reduce carriage of Word," the company said. Besides, it said, The Word has not alleged or demonstrated that it is similarly situated to a Comcast-affiliated network, the favoring of which would be the necessary grounds for a program carriage complaint.

In its complaint, The Word said Comcast had "unjustly" removed the channel and said Comcast also demanded digital rights, but Comcast said the first was not true and the second was both not true and irrelevant.

The Word argued that demanding such digital rights had violated the NBCU deal prohibition on "engaging in unfair methods of competition, acts or practices," that hindered TVN's ability to get its programming to subscribers, replacing The Word with an "objectively inferior" network.

Comcast countered that it "did not 'enter into or enforce' any agreement that would prohibit programming from flowing to OVDs in violation of the Exclusivity Condition."

Comcast asked that the complaint be dismissed with Prejudice, which means it could not be repaired and refiled.

John Eggerton
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.