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Comcast standoff with Altitude bitter as ever, but here’s a possible solution for you



The answer is no. No, there is nothing positive to report about a potential end to the stalemate between Comcast and Altitude that has gone on since…wait for it…nearly a year and a half now.

If you’re a Comcast subscriber (full disclosure: I’m one) you still do not have the Altitude Network on your channel feed. I asked a high-ranking Altitude executive the other day if there was anything good to report about the situation.

“I wish I had good news, but I don’t,” the person said.

With the Avalanche starting play in the regular season Jan. 13, we’re staring at another season where the team won’t be on the biggest cable provider in Denver. It’s unbelievable this has gone on so long, but it’s where we are. The situation between the two sides is actually in the courts right now.

Recently, a judge in California allowed a suit by Altitude against Comcast to move forward.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

“A federal judge finds it “plausible” that Comcast is refusing to make a good offer to license Altitude, a regional sports network that telecasts most Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games, so that it can drive this Denver-area RSN out of business and capture the programming for its own NBC-branded sports channel. Accordingly, Comcast must continue to face an antitrust lawsuit.

The decision to partially reject Comcast’s motion to dismiss came on Friday. It’s the latest in a legal battle brought by Altitude’s Stan Kroenke, who as owner of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams as well as the U.K.’s Premier League’s Arsenal is a pretty powerful guy in his own right.

Here, the controversy surrounds Comcast’s refusal to extend the old contract for Altitude for an additional few years with a modest bump in the carriage rate. Instead, Comcast wanted to move Altitude to a “sports tier” on the cable dial and make its subscribers pay an additional fee to get the channel. The result would lower Altitude’s access to Comcast subscribers and mean less money. Altitude asserts that accepting Comcast’s terms would ultimately oust it from the market and that Comcast has made no such arrangement with any affiliated RSN throughout the nation. In other words, Comcast is allegedly attempting to bully an independent, and as Altitude claims, take control.

U.S. District Court Judge William Martinez doesn’t buy all of Altitude’s antitrust theories. For instance, in his 41-page opinion (read here), he largely accepts Comcast’s position that one of the monopolization claims is doomed because by not carrying Altitude, Comcast may be losing subscribers, which causes it to lose market power as a buyer of sports programming.

But the judge does see something worth exploring in Altitude’s allegation that Comcast’s hard bargaining position may amount to a refusal to deal instead of a legitimate effort to keep prices down.”

Your options, Avs fan and Comcast subscriber, are these: You can dump Comcast for Directv. You can stream games illegally on any number of pirate servers.

Or, as someone recently showed me: You can still keep your Comcast internet, dump all the cable and sign up for AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now, a streaming service that you can get on things like Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, Roku and others. I know someone who is paying roughly $70 a month for this, which includes all the sports channels, HBO and 130 other channels.

I am NOT a paid spokesman for AT&T TV or Altitude, but if you want to learn more about getting this – and therefore getting Altitude – click here.

I’m told that doing this will actually save you money over your typical Comcast cable package. You know, the one that doesn’t allow you to see the Avs or Nuggets right now.


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