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Over-the-top video firms push back against FCC MVPD rule making

The nation’s biggest online video distributors would rather the Federal Communications Commission not do them any favors by regulating over the top services like cable.

Representatives from Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, companies that haven’t been regulated by the FCC, have been increasing their face time at the FCC to keep the agency from advancing a proceeding that would regulate some OTT services like facilities-based multi-channel video distributors.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has promised to move on at the order this fall in what is likely to be another divisive proceeding at the agency.

While Wheeler sees the order as a way to bring some competition to cable and satellite services that may begin to migrate their linear line-ups to the Internet.  Over-the-top services, even those that don’t now currently provide linear streaming programming, see the order as “premature,” shoe horning an old business model onto an emerging OVD business that is still experimenting with bundles, streaming and on-demand offerings.

In a recent filing with the FCC, representatives from the Digital Media Association, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft said there’s no case for regulating a growing, innovative industry.

“Subjecting newly covered OVDs to regulations adopted for facilities-based MVPDs could adversely affect the continued growth of the marketplace for online video content,” the Gregory Barnes, general counsel for the Digital Media Association wrote in the ex parte.

“Right now, millions of hours of video are being made available for consumers to enjoy online, and most of that content is of exceptional quality.  The FCC’s rush to regulate in this area could stymie such progress – to the detriment of consumers,” Barnes added in a statement.