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There are many situations in which Internet access providers have the ability and incentive to block legal online video. A movie studio or cable company could potentially pay an Internet access provider to slow down or block their competitors. Internet access providers that are also cable providers have an anticompetitive incentive to slow or block alternative, online media. And Internet access providers that are cable providers and also content creators, like the merged entity that is Comcast-NBCU, have an even greater incentive to do so.
Public Knowledge’s Position
If permitted, these practices would prove detrimental not only to consumers, who would face fewer options for accessing video, but also to innovators in the online video space, who would see their ability to reach consumers subject to the anticompetitive whims of big media.
Public Knowledge is also against the use of blocking access to online content as a bargaining tool against Internet access and cable providers. For example, in October 2010, Fox unilaterally blocked access to its content by Cablevision subscribers—both via traditional cable and online—as part of a completely unrelated dispute between the companies. This is not a “network neutrality” concern as precisely understood, but could threaten the integrity of the open Internet as much as anti-competitive behavior by Internet access providers.
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For more information
- Read our letter to the FCC on the implications of Fox's blocking of Internet content