The Associated Press reported on Thursday (2/25) that a federal appeals court had rejected Maine’s law requiring cable companies to give subscribers the option of purchasing access to individual cable channels rather than bundled packages.
Comcast, joined by Disney, Fox Cable and NBC/Universal, Fox Cable and others, sued the state over the law.
The appeals court noted that state acknowledged there’s an insufficient record to justify that the law could withstand muster when it came to First Amendment arguments raised by the cable companies. Cable companies contended they were unfairly singled out, among other things.
Comcast contended the law would mean limited choices and higher prices than the current packages it offers to consumers.
It argued it would’ve been forced to overhaul ordering, distribution and billing systems along with providing new digital cable boxes to many customers. It also contended it would have had to renegotiate contracts with programmers and content providers.
The law was adopted in response to consumer frustration over the growing cost of cable TV packages.
Independent Rep. Jeff Evangelos, the bill’s sponsor, said TV viewers complain about paying for unwanted channels. The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the law largely on party lines.