Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) likely will have to make high-definition regional sports programming available to its telco TV competitors, after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied the company's request to review a recent Federal Communications Commission order to make the programming feeds available to AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).
In November, the FCC had called for Cablevision to make the feeds available to its competitors' customers by Nov. 25, affirming its own order from two months earlier, but the appeals court had granted a stay on that order while it mulled Cablevision's request for review. After this week's ruling, Cablevision said it is exploring its options.
Regional sports programming has long been a button for controversy between cable TV and telco TV companies. Cablevision has argued that its HD programming amounted to its competitive differentiation and should not be subject to existing FCC rebroadcast rules, but the telcos have argued that withholding the programming amounts to an unfair competitive advantage.
Cablevision has spent a lot of lawyer hours fighting Verizon in particular. The company recently won a partial restraining order against Verizon after it claimed that Verizon was using old data in advertisements that accused Cablevision of not meeting its own advertised broadband speeds. Despite the win for Cablevision, Verizon has said it will merely tweak its ads and continue to marketing onslaught against Cablevision.
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Verizon said it will continue to mock Cablevision broadband speeds
The FCC first ruled in September that Cablevision release its HD feed