Wheeler says that similar to how Congress mandated access to cable channels for satellite services, it should extend the concept to providers of Internet-based services.
Consumers have long complained about how their cable service forces them to buy channels they never watch. The move of video onto the Internet can do something about that frustration – but first Internet video services need access to the programs. Today the FCC takes the first step to open access to cable programs as well as local television. The result should be to give consumers more alternatives from which to choose so they can buy the programs they want.
In 1992 Congress realized that the then-nascent satellite industry would have a hard time competing because much cable programming was owned by cable companies who frequently kept it from competitors. Congress mandated access to cable channels for satellite services, and competition flourished. Today I am proposing to extend the same concept to the providers of linear, Internet-based services; to encourage new video alternatives by opening up access to content previously locked on cable channels. What could these over-the-top video providers (OTTs) supply to consumers? Many different kinds of multichannel video packages designed for different tastes and preferences. A better ability for a consumer to order the channels he or she wants to watch.
Specifically, Wheeler has asked the Commission to start a rulemaking proceeding in which the term “multichannel video programming distributor” (MVPD) would be modernized so that it is technology-neutral. The result of this technical adjustment will be to 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.
If implemented this would clearly be of great benefit to customers and companies like Apple who have had a difficult time getting content deals in place. Imagine an Apple Television that let you pick and choose the channels you wanted to subscribe to, offering a nice clean UI, iCloud-based DVR, and more.
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Read More [via Verge]