FCC Ruling: Comcast Wins, AT&T and Dish Get Screwed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Friday that it plans to ease regulations on exclusive programming deals, including regional sports networks. The news of lifted restrictions carries significant weight for many key players in the programming industry.

Cable operators like Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) stand to gain considerable ground as a result of the new changes, which could potentially be enacted as soon as Friday.

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Since 1992, cable companies have been required by Congress to provide pay-TV rivals access to any content that is delivered by satellite to the cable network’s key “head end” distribution point.

However, today’s FCC announcement to end that “program-access exclusivity ban” is sure to shake things up.

The anticipated deregulation will hurt multi-channel satellite broadcasting competitors like DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has stated that he will handle the review of complaints on a case-by-case basis.

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