Ahh, Comcast. They earn $21 billion each quarter. Keep that in mind.
Comcast is suing Vermont because the state has required Comcast to retain public access programming and expand access by “no less than 550 miles” of cable to underserved areas of the state. Vermont’s Public Utility Division put the requirements into a new 11 year permit for the company.
The extension of broadband access was a known issue for Vermont when Comcast bought Adelphia in 2005. Vermont argues that Comcast has shown no evidence that the need for expanding broadband has diminished, so the conditions still apply.
Comcast is claiming First Amendment issues. Instead of complying with the relatively inexpensive requirement to add some cable over a decade, they have decided to spend money on lawyers and fight it.
Their official whine is that the new permit would “cost millions of dollars, place discriminatory burdens on Comcast and its customers, and arbitrarily increase their costs for cable service.” They argue that they are being singled out.
Their court complaint says this:
“The VPUC claimed that it could impose the blanket 550-mile line extension mandate on Comcast because it is the “largest” cable operator in Vermont and can afford it. These discriminatory conditions contravene federal and state law, amount to undue speaker-based burdens on Comcast’s protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution… and deprive Comcast and its subscribers of the benefits of Vermont law enjoyed by other cable operators and their subscribers without a just and rational basis, in violation of the Common Benefits Clause of the Vermont Constitution.”
Comcast hopes the court finds Vermont’s conditions unlawful.