Court hears Comcast appeal on Tennis Channel ruling

Posted: February 26, 2013

A three-judge panel in Washington on Monday heard Comcast Corp.'s appeal of the Federal Communications Commission order to distribute the Tennis Channel to about 20 million homes, or the same number of cable homes that it distributes the Comcast-owned Golf and NBC Sports Network channels.

Tennis, which initially filed the action at the FCC in 2010, claims that Comcast is violating the 1992 Cable Act by favoring its own sports channels over Tennis and that its actions harm the 24-hour sports network.

Comcast says the FCC order infringes on its First Amendment rights to free speech and that it can decide without government interference which channels should be carried on its cable system. The case is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The court did not say when it would issue a ruling. There was a standing-room crowd for the arguments in courtroom 31 on the fifth floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse.    - Bob Fernandez

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