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Monday, December 29, 2014

Federal Communications Commission want more Internet Based video distribution options

At this holiday season, the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) pauses to express our heartfelt thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for initiating a process to expand the Internet video marketplace — and perhaps the overall distribution of television programming — in a way that will benefit consumers and create new opportunities for industry participants.

We applaud the Commission's adoption last week of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Promoting Innovation and Competition in the Provision of Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Services (MB Docket No. 14-261).
We salute Chairman Wheeler for his exemplary, courageous, and forward-thinking leadership; along with Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O'Rielly,

With this update of its rules, the FCC will enable Internet video programming distributors (IVPDs) and over-the-top (OTT) Internet protocol television (IPTV) companies to compete with established cable and satellite multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and offer consumers new viewing options.

This move will unshackle television programming from old transmission technologies.

Linear streams of television broadcast station signals and cable television programming services will be made available for licensing and marketing by IVPDs and OTT IPTV services.

It echoes steps that Congress took in 1992 by enabling satellite TV operators to access the highly popular video content owned by cable programmers and broadcasters, which allowed direct broadcast satellite (DBS) distribution to grow and flourish.

Additional benefits of the Commission's action will be to increase the demand for broadband Internet access and to make it easier for broadband network operators to offer linear television programming through third-party distributors rather than entering the video distribution business themselves.
The NPRM process, however, does not immediately guarantee these outcomes: a comment period will begin shortly during which opposing views may be presented.

We strongly urge DCIA Member companies, DCINFO readers, and other interested parties to voice their support for the rule-making as proposed.

History has shown that the adoption of advanced technologies has ultimately benefited all participants in the distribution chain as well as the public, with new business models, promising innovations, enhanced service offerings, and fresh marketing approaches.

As we've previously expressed, care will still need to be taken to ensure that new entrants are allowed to compete on a level playing field with owned-and-operated IPTV offerings of current MVPDs.
But we believe the improvements in efficiency of signal delivery and increased reach to a greater array of reception devices — including smarter and more mobile products — can be accomplished in ways that will benefit the public, protect local broadcasters, and increase the viability of narrowcast offerings that are currently deprived of major distribution.

The FCC's action is a great way to start the New Year and we hope augurs well for its related but exponentially more challenging task of preserving an open Internet. Share wisely, and take care.