Cable Operators: OVDs Are Not MVPDs

Cable operators told the FCC again that it should define
MVPD as the combination of multiple video programming streams and the
transmission path, which would mean legacy regs like program access and carriage
and exclusivity would not apply to online video distributors (OVDs).

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association madethat point clear in its initial comments to the FCC May 14,
and nothing in the ensuing comment period has changed its mind.

In its reply comments, filed Wednesday, NCTA said that the
definition of MVPD depends on the definition of channel -- NCTA's response is
to the FCC's request for comment on the definitions of both as they related to
a program access complaint filed by over-the-top provider Sky Angel against

Congress was clear about its definition of channel, says
NCTA. In the Communications Act, it defines a channel as "a portion of the
electromagnetic frequency spectrum which is used in a cable system and which is
capable of delivering a television channel (as television channel is defined by
the Commission by regulation)."

The cable trade group says Congress' definition in the
statute "makes clear that a ‘channel' of video programming is not the
programming itself but the physical transmission path used to deliver that

To define it otherwise, they say, would result in
"expansive regulation of the Internet" and conferring rights and
obligations on online entities the FCC does not track or license, may not have
physical facilities in the U.S. and which "were never intended to be the
subjects of such regulations."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.