Editor in Chief
- Dec 30, 2010
- Reaction score
- Austin, TX
Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC isn't too popular right now because of his head-scratching proposal of an "internet fast lane" in regards to Net Neutrality. However, he just released a new proposed rules change for the FCC which may just provide him a bit of redemption and be great thing for consumers in the long run.
The specifics of his proposal is that he wants revise the rule-making procedures to modernize the FCC's interpretation of the term “multichannel video programming distributor” (MVPD) by making it "technology-neutral." Wheeler basically wants to be able to have the FCC classify the over-the-top Internet streaming services in the same way as cable companies and satellite television companies.
This would would allow online video providers to negotiate fair licensing deals with content providers, and it would keep broadcasters from stopping online video providers from carrying their content.There is actually precedent for this policy shift as well, and Wheeler cites this as an example in his proposal. In 1992, Congress did this with the burgeoning satellite industry in order to keep the cable companies from forcing them out of the market by blocking access to content.
What's most intriguing about his idea is that it could open up an important door for tech companies that are already aiming at becoming TV content providers. Companies like Google, Apple, Amazon and others would basically be able to negotiate deals to get the same cable TV channels and major network channels that the big cable companies have, because they would now be classified as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). This would allow them to compete directly with the likes of Comcast, Time Warner and others.
Wheeler boils it down by saying this rules change would “give MVPDs that use the Internet (or any other method of transmission) the same access to programming owned by cable operators and the same ability to negotiate to carry broadcast TV stations that Congress gave to satellite systems in order to ensure competitive video markets.”
We will have to wait and see if this proposed rules change goes through, but it's a very promising and creative idea. We can't imagine the cable companies will be too thrilled about this idea.
We have included a copy of his entire proposal in the thread below, and here is a link to the FCC source: Tech Transitions Video and the Future FCC.gov