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.
The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“The FCC is moving in a sensible direction by applying a technology-neutral statute in a technology-neutral way. This is good law, because the conclusion that 'multichannel video programming distributor' (MVPD) is a broad term that encompasses cable and satellite TV as well as internet video delivery is consistent with the statute and Congressional intent.
“It's also good policy. By clarifying that MVPDs can operate online, it is creating opportunities for new and existing competitors to offer new kinds of video subscription services to viewers. This should both increase the diversity of content available to viewers online while bringing down prices for all cable and satellite providers.
“This action is similar to what policymakers did in the 1990s, when they laid the groundwork that allowed satellite TV providers like DISH and DirecTV to grow. It's not about regulating existing successful business models, but about creating new opportunities and a level playing field in ways that will pay off in the years to come.
“Public Knowledge has advocated for this policy change for years. It is good to see the FCC taking this pro-consumer and pro-competition step.”
The FCC's notice can be found here.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.