RCN Corp. lost an appeal of a 1999 decision by the Federal Communications
Commission, which ruled that Cablevision Systems Corp. was allowed to offer
overflow sports programming from Madison Square Garden Network and Fox Sports
New York on its MetroChannels service.
Cablevision often schedules professional-sports games on MetroChannels when
it has scheduling conflicts on MSGN or FSNY. The MSO is allowed to offer
MetroChannels exclusively on cable since the networks are terrestrial and
delivered via fiber.
RCN had argued that Cablevision violated sections of the 1992 Cable Act by
refusing to negotiate a carriage agreement for the overflow programming. In the
decision, released Wednesday, the FCC rejected the argument, noting that
exclusivity rules only apply to satellite-delivered networks.
The commission also noted that the sports programming Cablevision offers on
the overflow channels 'is only a small part of the programming offered on the
MetroChannels, and a majority of this sports programming remains available to
RCN via MSG, FSNY and other outlets.'
RCN spokeswoman Nancy Bavec said Friday that the company was evaluating its
options regarding the FCC ruling. 'We're disappointed and certainly not
surprised by it,' she added.
FCC commissioner Gloria Tristani was the only member of the agency to dissent
on the decision, writing in her appeal that the commission should have granted
RCN's request to be granted discovery documents in the case.
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