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.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association made that 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 Discovery.

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 programming."

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."