Comcast attacks FCC over Media Bureau change

In the waning days of the Kevin Martin-headed FCC, the ongoing battles with cable operators continue. Comcast complained the FCC’s Media Bureau broke the law when it terminated administrative law judge hearings on program access complaints and decided to judge them itself.

The complaint came last week from the cable operator over a decision released by the Media Bureau on Christmas Eve. Comcast said the commission lacked the authority for the change, and the judge still has jurisdiction. It requested an emergency stay of the order.

Comcast argued that the program access complaints require a “trial-type” hearing before a judge rather than an “unprecedented and unlawful rush to judgment” by the Media Bureau.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin said there is “no question” that the Media Bureau was within its authority to make that call since it had initially delegated the adjudication of the complaints to a judge with instructions to come to a decision within 60 days. The Media Bureau said it will now decide the complaints itself.