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Historic Ruling Vacates FCC Ownership Limit for Cable Operators

August 28, 2009

In a significant victory for Wiley Rein client Comcast Corporation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today reversed and vacated the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) ownership cap for cable operators, which limited cable operators to serving only 30% of the nation's multi-channel video subscribers.  In doing so, the court agreed with the Comcast position that the subscriber limit was "arbitrary and capricious" and restricted Comcast's ability to “make economically efficient acquisitions.”  

In 2001, the court had struck down the 30% cap and directed the FCC to give the rule further review.  In its current ruling, the court noted the FCC’s failure adequately to do so, opining that “[t]he Commission's dereliction in this case is particularly egregious.”

Wiley Rein partners Helgi C. Walker and Eve Klindera Reed, and associate Jamie Alan Aycock were part of the regulatory and appellate team that delivered this important and historic result for Comcast.