FCC Extends Over-the-Top Comment Deadlines

Two More Weeks Added for Replies

The Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau has granted the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and everybody else for that matter, more time to comment on its proceeding to define some over-the-top video providers as MVPDs, just not as much time as NCTA wanted.

The FCC granted a two-week extension of comments to April 1 for replies to already-filed initial comments, less than the 30 days NCTA asked for. The FCC had already extended both comment deadlines once by two weeks after the National Association of Broadcasters asked for 30 days.

"The Commission’s general policy is not to grant extensions of time routinely," the bureau said, "but we find that given the large number of commenters and complex issues involved here, the public interest warrants an extension of the reply comment deadline. Although NCTA seeks a 30-day extension, we believe that a two-week extension will give the public enough time to respond to the comments filed in response to the NPRM."

Last December, the FCC voted to tentatively conclude that it would define an OTT service that delivers a linear stream of programming as an MVPD. That means those services would have access to content through the FCC's program access rules, but also have to negotiate retransmission consent with broadcasters. It would not apply to TV Everywhere, which is in essence an authentication regime for an online mirror of traditional service, in which access rules already appear. But it does ask questions about how it should treat TV Everywhere.

The idea behind the NPRM is to give over-the top providers offering an online service that mimics a linear cable offering the same FCC-enforced access to vertically integrated programming. NCTA has already told the FCC in initial comments it thinks the FCC can't redefine those OTT services as MVPDS, but wanted more time to respond to the over 800 pages from 40 other