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FCC Drops WOW Complaint vs. Comcast

Comcast Corp. was cleared Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission of accusations that it violated agency rules by offering promotions designed to stop customers from defecting to a competing cable company.

WideOpenWest Holdings LLC filed the complaint nearly two years ago, alleging that Comcast's customer-retention and win-back promotions violated FCC rules because the MSO had failed to inform all subscribers of the various discount offers on the table.

WOW -- which competes with Comcast in 42 Detroit-area communities -- suggested that Comcast's practices were an illegal attempt to use its market power to drive WOW out of business.

But in a unanimous ruling, the five FCC members concluded that Comcast's limited-term discounts did not meet the agency standard of "systemic abuse" of the agency's cable-consumer-protection rules.

In dismissing the complaint, the commission noted that WOW could take its dispute to local regulators, file an antitrust suit, or file a new FCC complaint alleging that Comcast violated rules requiring a uniform rate structure.