New FCC rule change is a massive victory for internet television


Right now internet services don’t always have the opportunity to show the same content as traditional TV, but the FCC might be about to change that. Chairman Tom Wheeler described in his blog post “Tech Transitions, Video, and the Future” the “first step” to open cable programs and local TV to internet services, by giving them the same classification that cable and satellite providers have. That wouldn’t apply to Netflix or Amazon, but anyone streaming live TV channels over the internet would be covered.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing to update the agency’s rules to guarantee online video providers access to the most popular TV shows and channels. Mr. Wheeler circulated on Tuesday a proposal in which FCC’s rules would treat so-called “over the top,” or Internet-based, video providers the same as cable and satellite companies, making it easier for them to carry shows produced by the cable and broadcast companies. The changes wouldn’t apply to companies like Netflix that carry on-demand content, only over the top providers who carry traditional, linear TV channels. By changing the FCC’s rules, Mr. Wheeler hopes to encourage companies like DISH that are hoping to offer smaller bundles of TV channels delivered over the Internet. Currently only cable, satellite and phone companies are considered multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD), which are guaranteed access to the TV channels.


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