back to article FCC boss Wheeler clears way for internet TV and cable unbundling

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has outlined a plan which could lead to a change in the way Americans pay for television and internet services. The FCC boss said in a late Tuesday blog post that internet TV services should be afforded the same access rights to network programming as satellite TV …

  1. Eddy Ito

    I'm sorry but "over the top" has always meant 'to surpass a goal or exceed expectations'. It could also be used to indicate anything excessive, gaudy or gauche. Somehow a trend of calling the internet 'the top' has replaced the original meaning especially since crappy TV shows almost never live up to expectations much less exceed them. I suppose it must be being used in the gauche sense.

    1. Mage Silver badge


      It means unicast rather than Broadcast. Over the Top of Broadcast. It's an abbreviation and says nothing about quality or content.

      I agree it's a stupid name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OTT

        "unicast" or unicost?

        Take a look around the corner a bit. If there can be any justification that TV access and internet access should be regulated or delivered equally, then this ties TV on step closer to internet access in general. Sure today it's just TV, but tomorrow you may very well be paying ISP's for internet streaming access to things like youtube. After all, youtube should be treated equally and delivered fairly to all industries, so you can't give youtube a leg up if you won't with TV right?

        Maybe I'm paranoid, but nobody is doing anything today unless they can raise profit margins.

  2. Mage Silver badge

    for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

    No, it allows them to "compete" by claiming to offer more channels and to make more profit. E.g. justification of prices for Sky UK priciing and bundles.

    In days of Analogue Access cards they only could do bundles. Now though the card can have any mix of channels, Satellite and Cable operators deliberately have bundles because it's more profitable.

    Pay TV is stunningly bad value in UK and Ireland since over 96% of what Irish & UK Pay TV subscribers watch (based on time watching) is Free Channels. That's not even counting content that was Free To Air repeated on Animal Planet, Gold / Dave etc.

    See BARB (UK) and Nielsen (Ireland Figures). USA is different.

    Of course compared to 1980s there is far too much mediocre USA content in Europe and BBC/ITV/RTE too much soaps/RealityTV/Xfactor style etc garbage.

    Multichannel is killing decent TV content. Too much fragmentation.

    Also BBC & RTE too much enamoured with delivery, web content, digital (esp DAB), twitter etc rather than actually making content to broadcast and doing Journalism.

    Traditional Broadcasters risk becoming irrelevant and wiped out by Netflix, iTunes, YouTube etc if they do not concentrate on producing quality content themselves and their own journalism. They can't compete in the future and have a reputation simply commissioning and buying it in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

      "USA is different."

      No it's not. The names change and somebody tweeked the rules a bit, but it's till the same game. You're right about this being about profits driven "Over-The-Top". It was just only a couple years ago that here in the USA that cable subscriptions dropped for the first time in history, so none of what the TV industry is doing is surprising at all.

      I sort of disagree with you on that multichannel is killing content. I know what you mean, but today it seems TV is more and more shit. I think multichannel just really puts it home that there is this much shit on TV. It has become so bad, that I really can't tell if the shows I like are shit.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

      Canadian cable companies are fighting the loss of bundles. They say it will cause some channels to die, but they are just cheap crap used to puff up the bundles like rice crisps in a candy bar. If no one wants to watch your darts channel too bad, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

      1. chris lively

        Re: for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

        Of course it's going to cause some channels to die. That's the point, people are tired of paying for 99% crap just to get a show every so often that's worth the time.

        A lot of these channels really should have just been a 1 year series. They simply don't have enough content to run 24x7. Others exist solely for reruns. In today's world there is just no reason to bother with that. Put it on amazon or netflix and if people want to see it then they'll hit play.

        I see a bloodbath in the tv industry brewing that will make the newspaper consolidation look like a tea party.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

          Don't say "tea party"...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: for the more popular networks to subsidize the less popular channels

            Why? Are you concerned about the fish in Boston harbour?

  3. swschrad

    what we have now is segregation by wire type

    if you are on an antenna lead, you have one kind of access and one type of regulation and pricing (free, regulate at source.) if you are on a cable-tv or satellite, you have another (regulation at middleman, whatever pricing the market will bear.) if you are trying to stream, still another (market controls access, pricing is whatever this experiment is looking for, plus subscriber pays for the network at whatever cost the market will bear.)

    there is no competition, there are various oligarchies dictating your lifestyle.

    I have always believed that you need a flat regulatory environment, where the type of wire you have doesn't mean a damn thing about how you pay for and use a service. hopefully the FCC is going there. it is going to stun several of the oligarchies who are milking their piece of the system to the last drop. if they had to compete on a flat playing field, they'd be long dead working like that. I shed no tears, as they usually have the shittiest service, too.

    1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Re: what we have now is segregation by wire type

      "there is no competition, there are various oligarchies dictating your lifestyle"

      I read that as "voracious".

      Good comment, swschrad.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Internet Highway to Hell

    If you're a U.S. consumer and use AT& T then you might be unhappy to know AT&T may have been illegally throttling customer internet data for those who pay for unlimited data. The FTC has filed a lawsuit alleging this.

    In addition Comcast cable has been caught illegally blocking legitimate international e-mail sent to many U.S. customers. Are these industry monopolies above the law? Do they have the right to charge customers for services they do not provide.

    Your get to vote by telling your side of the story to U.S. Federal officials who can hold these companies accountable for consumer fraud and illegal business practices.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOAP ?

    Is he talking about XML / web / http / tcp / ip mega SOAP metadata ... ???

    It's a horrible mega abstract protocol which consume bandwidth.

    I love my traditional TV and cable. No thanks ...

  6. Uncle Ron

    What Was it Before?

    I'm not aware of any restriction before this "announcement" against anybody offering anything on the internet. What's going on here? As a general principle, I don't trust any pronouncement coming out of any orifice of Tom Wheeler's body. He's a shill for corporate interests like Comcast (NBC) and Verizon and the rest of "the industry," and definitely -not- on the side of the consumer. Assuming no contractual (perfectly legal) restriction, anybody can transmit anything they own on the internet.

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