Today, Public Knowledge and Open Technology Institute filed joint comments on the Retransmission Consent rules to the Federal Communications Commission in response to the agency’s September 2014 notice of proposed rulemaking.
You may be forgiven if, given all the attention given to the FCC's decision to classify broadband as "telecommunications" under Title II of the Communications Act, you missed that the FCC was also considering another "reclassification," of a sort. Specifically, the FCC is considering allowing online services to operate as "multichannel video programming distributors," an action that could benefit consumers and competition by opening up the video marketplace to new entrants, and paving the way for online services to offer the same kinds of channels that are available today only through traditional pay-TV services like cable and satellite. Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed comments supporting the FCC's proposed action, which could increase consumer choice while bringing down prices without subjecting most kinds of online video services to additional regulation.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission tentatively concluded that online services qualify as "multichannel programming distributors" and asked for further public input on some technical issues. The FCC's legal conclusion means that certain online services will qualify for competitive protections, among other things.
Today, FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet gave a speech at the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy Conference providing some details about the FCC's approach to video competition. The speech indicated that the FCC is considering recognizing that online video services can be "multichannel video programming distributors," like cable and satellite TV, under the Communications Act.
Technology isn't holding back Internet TV—the structure of the media industry is.
Rumors of Intel's and Apple's interest in launching some kind of online cable service have been circulating for months. Years, even. It's clear that major tech companies have the technology ready, and they've been making phone calls and taking meetings. People talk, reports get written. Now, we can add Google to the mix. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, it's interested in launching some kind of online TV service, too—one that is intended to actually substitute for a traditional pay TV subscription by having current, popular shows from both cable and broadcast channels, and not just supplement it with on-demand access to a back catalog or user-generated content.