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Comcast Will Not Appeal Program-Access Decision

Comcast will not challenge Friday's court decision upholding the Federal Communication Commission's program- access rules.

"We will not appeal," said a Comcast spokeswoman.

Cablevision, which also challenged the prohibition on exclusive contracts for programming in which a cable operator has a financial interest, said March 12 that it is considering its options. That would include appealing the 2-1 decision to the full court.

The dissenting judge said he thought the rule should have been thrown out as discriminatory and a violation of the First Amendment.

But Comcast has been trying to craft voluntary conditions on its proposed joint venture with NBC/U to make it more palatable in Washington. That has included accepting program-access conditions even if the court overturned them.

But in the ruling Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington said the FCC had sufficiently justified its decision that the marketplace was not sufficiently competitive to warrant lifting the prohibition. But it also said the marketplace seemed to be changing rapidly enough that by 2012, when the rules are set to expire, they will likely no longer be needed.

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.