The FCC Cuts Comcast Off at the Knees

Comcast is pissed. Per the FCC's latest vote, it can't provide cable to more than 30 percent of the country. It has a 27 percent market share right now with 26.2 million subscribers. With the FCC's 30 percent market cap, it can add fewer than 3 million new subscribers before it hits the wall, pretty much ruling out acquisitions of other cable companies or any major growth.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's proposal to limit the growth of cable providers had been floating around for a bit and was sort of expected not to fly, but two of the four other commissioners have thrown in with him on the vote. It's possible—if not probable—that the courts could get involved and throw out the decision, which Reuters points out they did six years ago.

The final vote's expected to go down sometime before Dec. 18—so the two commissioners have time to change their mind—but Comcast will probably start rabble-rousing long before then. They're probably already in the vicinity anyway, going on about the FCC's decision a few weeks ago killing apartment-exclusive contracts. All in all, quite a beating for cable from the FCC this month. [WSJ, Reuters, Flickr]