FCC: Comcast Takes Steps to Authenticate HBO Go on PS4

Comcast has "completed all the steps needed to authenticate its subscribers for access to the HBO Go and WatchESPN TV Everywhere services on  PlayStation devices," FCC Enforcement Bureau chief Travis LeBlanc said in a letter to the company this week.

There had been FCC complaints like this one about HBO Go not being available on PlayStation devices via Comcast, with some arguing it was a violation of network neutrality.

LeBlanc said the bureau was pleased with the move, which it said came after negotiations with "relevant parties."

"This action is consistent with Comcast’s asserted long-standing commitment to 'providing content to consumers where and when they want it, on all possible devices, and for those devices to be innovative platforms for new applications,' and the Company’s assurances that Comcast is 'pursuing other innovations to expand further consumers’ device options."

"We applaud any action that will further the goals of enhanced competition, programming diversity, consumer choice, and innovation in the marketplace," he said. The FCC under chairman Tom Wheeler made opening up new platforms for accessing online content a major theme of his tenure, which ends Jan. 20.

LeBlanc called it part of an "ongoing dialogue" and encouraged Comcast "to continue to take steps towards these ends."

Comcast had not returned a request for comment on the letter at press time, but it has said it generally extends support to additional platforms as a function of how it allocates its engineering resources.

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.