I hate like hell to side with Comcast on anything, but this bothers me:
The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has told an administrative law judge that he should mandate Tennis Channel carriage on a “widely viewed” — though not necessarily most widely penetrated — Comcast tier and fine the cable operator the maximum for that program carriage rule violation.
Comcast’s grievous offense here, it appears, consists of actually owning sports channels:
The bureau recommends that the judge force Comcast to carry the channel “across Comcast’s cable systems nationwide on a broadly distributed tier” within the next 30 days and at a price on par with Golf Channel or Versus, both of which are owned by Comcast. The FCC’s program-access rules prevent cable operators from favoring co-owned channels over similar, non-affiliated channels.
The prescribed fine is $375,000.
What I want to know is this: where the hell was the bureau when Comcast was acquiring everything in sight, up to and including NBC Universal, the previous owners of Golf Channel and Versus? Hands in their pockets, and never mind where they keep their thumbs.
The FCC utters a lot of “competition” talk, but never do they do anything that would actually encourage competition; they rubber-stamp mergers, they reinforce monopolies — how many cable companies can you get? — and they’ve willingly handed over almost the entirety of American broadcasting to a handful of conglomerates to whom “local service” means “you can get the same Disney crap that the big cities do.” The Internet is busy finishing off what’s left of broadcast. In a sensible world, the FCC would die with it.