The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a technical rule change that will make it easier for the Internet to compete with traditional TV and cable channels.
In essence the agency wants to broaden the definition of a pay-TV provider, so that on-line video streaming would be treated in the same category as cable or satellite TV and video, as long as that on-line service is provided by a company that also offers a traditional TV channel.
The rule change would also give any company that offers on-line streaming the ability to license content from cable and broadcast networks.
The measures are similar to what Congress did for satellite TV providers in the 1990s.
FCC chair Tom Wheeler said in October that, “21st century consumers shouldn’t be shackled to rules that only recognize 20th century technology.”
The agency is now asking for comments on the proposals. The new rules are expected to be announced next summer.
But the move came too late to save the online TV streaming company, Aereo, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was illegal under copyright law in June.