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Media Television The Almighty Buck

IPTV Providers To Pay Same Regulatory Fees As Cable Companies 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the fcc-also-plans-to-bleep-all-swear-words-on-the-internet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FCC is looking to put regulatory fees on a per-subscriber basis for IPTV providers. 'We will assess regulatory fees on Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) licensees and we will create a new fee category that will include both cable television and IPTV,' says the report. What services they consider IPTV is yet to be seen; they call it simply 'digital television delivered through a high speed Internet connection.' We can only hope it doesn't affect too many internet video sites. "
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IPTV Providers To Pay Same Regulatory Fees As Cable Companies

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  • hmm? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think this is more for "broadcasting channel 2" by the ISP in a manner that would require a "TV tuner" and not "you must pay to watch youtube/hulu/netflix" of which the latter are subscription services that have no bearing on you watching it on DSL, Cable or Satellite.

    Like, if a site like Hulu were to have a "channel" that is only available with a "TV" subscription then yes it should fall under this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054)

      But the article clearly states:

      The fees are designed to recover the costs that the FCC incurs in administering licenses and the like and are based on the number of full-time employees dedicated to such functions on a bureau-by-bureau basis.

      And since the FCC does not regulate HULU or any other site sending video streams, it is NOT merely a money grab, but another way to shut down people streaming video of any kind, by simply declaring they failed to pay the fee. They've essentially brought the entire streaming video industry under their control by fiat!

      • But if the company just relocates to another country, is there anything the FCC can do?

        • by jamstar7 (694492)
          Yup. Block their IPs for transmission into the US. A simple matter of adjusting the rules for the top level domain nameservers. That'll stop anybody that doesn't know how to find a 'dotted quad' address, like, practically nobody.
      • Re:hmm? (Score:5, Informative)

        by pthisis (27352) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:59PM (#44596135) Homepage Journal

        No, they haven't. Read the FCC paper. The IPTV services they're discussing are essentially traditional cable services that use the Internet as their transport layer (e.g. AT&T ustream, CenturyLink Prism). They're clarifying that the exact technology used for regulated services doesn't create a loophole, not extending their regulation to Youtube or Hulu or Netflix (or ustream or justin.tv).

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Someone mod this person up then down for not only RTFA but understanding it.

          I would say just mod him up but I was liking the fu fest going on about how people would rebel and move their home run box off shore and stuff,

    • by jonwil (467024)

      What I want to know is why satellite TV operators (i.e. DirecTV and Dish Network) get exempted from paying fees even though they likely cost the FCC just as much in administration costs as the cable providers do...

  • I do not see how FCC thinks they will collect on those fees. I been watching shows for years off the net and all has been free. So 5% of $0 is $0.

    Maybe they are trying to collect on ad clicks? I don't click them so again $0.

    Lastly most of the sites I watch is outside the US. So they are like what? $0

    To be far though, I did have Netflix, but my wife canceled that subscription after buying ChromeCast and finding out no 3mo free NetFlix becuase she bought it 30 minutes to late. Also Goolge did not documen

    • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @04:01PM (#44596165) Homepage Journal

      Netflix isn't an IPTV service, none of this applies to them (or likely to any of the sites you're talking about). It's to ensure that AT&T uverse, CenturyLink Prism, and the like (which are essentially cable/fios systems that use the internet for transmission rather than purpose-built lines) don't have a regulatory loophole simply because they use a different technology for transport.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        Mod up. nearly this entire comment section is people not RTFA and bitching about nothing because they dont even understand what is going on.
        in other words.. just another day on /.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:05PM (#44595763)

    Why does the FCC need to regulate IPTV at all? It's not like traditional TV where viewers are stuck with a few providers that have an FCC granted monopoly through spectrum allocation, or a single cable company granted a monopoly by municipal contracts.

    What is there to regulate with IPTV? If you don't like your IPTV provider, you can choose another one instantly.

    The FTC can regulate the IPTV providers like any other business to prevent monopoly abuse, unfair business practices, etc. Why does the FCC need to get involved?

    Another name for government imposed "regulatory fees" is a "tax".

    • Why does the FCC need to regulate IPTV at all?

      Have you ever heard of any governmental organization disbanding itself because it was no longer necessary?

    • What is there to regulate with IPTV? If you don't like your IPTV provider, you can choose another one instantly.

      I think you'll find that this new fee/tax applies to situations where that isn't true. Ie, where your cable provider switches their cable service to digital for their own physically connected cable subscribers. This isn't for services which are just generally available over the internet, like Hulu/Netflix. It's to prevent existing monopoly (or pseudo monopoly) cable providers digitising their excl

    • The cable companies paid good money to their government lobbyists to cure the problem of streaming video killing their business model. As with all laws, this one is aimed to fix a problem.
    • This. The FCC could get away with regulating broadcast airways because of their limited spectrum. Many felt this sophistry of an ancient birth, but there you go.

      None of this applies anymore. Customers demand more and more bandwidth, and private companies rise to the occasion, grumbling aside.

      There is no authority to regulate speech distribution in such an environment.

      If you think so, you have allowed your mind to become infected with a meme disease making you a puppet of the power hungry, who gladly burp

  • Do not worry , they will find a way to make all content on the internet including you tube new paid for by subscription services.
    Claiming it's fair return because most of what we find there is copyrighted material being shown illegally , hence lost revenues for the majors bla bla
    Dont worry .. they will milk the internet cow till she's giving powdered milk .

  • why licensing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:07PM (#44595783)

    What justification in the world would there be for the FCC to regulate and license video transmissions over the Internet? Their job was to ensure orderly sharing of the public airwaves, nothing else.

    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      That was then. This is now.

      • Yes, but the FCC has already been slapped down for this kind of action in the past decade; it's way outside their purview. This should belong to the FTC or the ITU.

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          this is nothing to do with the internet or with streaming.
          but hey, dont bother to RTFA or anything before speaking.

    • Their job was to ensure enforce speech codes on the public airwaves, nothing else.

      I'm sure they can come up with plenty of "justifications" on demand.

    • by pthisis (27352)

      What justification in the world would there be for the FCC to regulate and license video transmissions over the Internet?

      There's nothing here about regulating Netflix or Hulu or Youtube or anything else that's just video transmissions over the Internet.

      IPTV refers to services like AT&T u-verse and CenturyLink PrismTV, that essentially use the internet to gateway traditional television signals. As the FCC analysis says, "[f]rom a customer's perspective, there is likely not much difference between IPTV

    • by n8_f (85799)
      FTFA: "IPTV is digital television delivered through a high speed Internet connection, instead of by the traditional cable method." They are talking about FiOS and Google Fiber (which is why people who read it also noticed a reference to a comment from a Google). Don't worry, grandpa, the guvmint isn't coming to take away your Internets.
      • by jsepeta (412566)

        define "television". is it live broadcast? is it sitcoms? is it advertiser-supported movies? watching a movie thru netflix is different than at a movie theatre, although content is streamed in both instances. i prefer torrents that avoid the advertising completely, unlike netflix/hulu/movie theaters

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          I've watched a lot of netflix and have yet to see a single advertisement. Where are these at?

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      And here I thought the web was public airwaves. Maybe the media companies, less a couple telco's, actually do own the web. I sure hope that isn't the case.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        You thought wrong. The concept of "public airwaves" derives from the fact that there is a single spectrum that is usable everybody without investment. The FCC was created to regulate this public, free resource. "The web" is a collection of largely privately owned, privately financed cables and routers. Congress might craft laws to promote neutrality, but that's never the same as "public airwaves", and without specific legislation and justification, there is no reason for the FCC to regulate "the web".

    • by Kohath (38547)

      The FCC has guys with guns backing them up. Justification is irrelevant. They're the US Federal Government.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      "interstate commerce"

    • Hulu
    • Netflix
    • Youtube
    • Vimeoh
    • Veoh
    • Metacafe
    • FunnyOrDie

    Internet streaming sites. Expanding the definition of cable service: the whole purpose is to get additional fees from media streaming.

    MAYBE All Internet Service Providers.

    Maybe other video streaming sites; and web site operators that embed streaming video from these providers ("rebroadcasters")

    • DBS is better then comcast for tv

    • What it won't include: Pirate Sites

      • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:54PM (#44596103)

        What it won't include: Pirate Sites

        It will add new ammunition to prosecute them --- suddenly they are guilty of the federal crime of evading the tax man. With the FCC; if you fail to file and pay fees, they can assess massive forfeitures.

        For example mom and pop ISPs or VoIP providers that buy PSTN connectivity from a wholesalers that fail to meet the new complicated FCC Reporting [fcc.gov] requirements, about their number of customers down to the level of ZIP code and Census tract, can be assessed fines of millions of dollars a day, and thrown in jail until they pay.

        • *smacks forehead* Of course, that's what we've been doing wrong all this time, why didn't we see it? Obviously the problem with getting people to not use pirate websites is that we simply weren't using a big enough stick.

    • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @04:04PM (#44596187) Homepage Journal

      False. It includes only licensees, which are things like AT&T uverse and CenturyLink Prism. As they note in the paper, it's basically stuff that to the end-user looks exactly like cable ("[f]rom a customer's perspective, there is likely not much difference between IPTV and other video services, such as cable service") but happens to use the Internet for data transport rather than dedicated cable lines. It's not an extension to generic video streaming a la Netflix, Youtube, hulu, justin.tv, whatever.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        it's basically stuff that to the end-user looks exactly like cable

        You didn't notice that with the right set top box Hulu on the screen looks just like Cable?

        They are pretty indistinguishable, and you can be sure they had to license or reuse a broadcast right to that content to stream it....

        • by pthisis (27352)

          FCC licensees, not people who happen to have random content licenses with third parties.

          This whole things been ongoing for a couple of years, you'll have to wait for the final report for it to be set in stone but it's pretty apparent to people who've been following it that the issues are a) Closing the loophole that allows uverse/prism/etc to avoid paying the type of regulatory fees that cable/satellite/fios providers pay; and b) Determining whether there should be a lower rate for Internet TV providers tha

          • by mysidia (191772)

            FCC licensees, not people who happen to have random content licenses with third parties.

            What comes to mind then is that ATT could just create a new company who won't be a FCC licensee. Transfer the content licenses to the new company

            Setup an exclusive agreement with a cross-marketing deal and a piggybacking arrangement.

            Update the uverse product and the fine print -- so you have uVerse including a broadband service provided by ATT

            An IP (Internet protocol) service provided by an exclusive contracte

            • by pthisis (27352)

              If that subsidiary's doing something that requires an FCC license (E.g. simulcasting networks) then they're going to need a license and to pay regulatory fees. Going 15 shell companies deep doesn't change that.

              If they're not, there's no reason they can't operate a Netflix/Hulu-style subsidiary that does internet streaming without licensing.

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            FCC licensees, not people who happen to have random content licenses with third parties.

            The FCC licensees include everyone that the FCC has demanded have a licenses.

            In other words, you arent saying much.. even though you thought yourself clever.

            • by pthisis (27352)

              The FCC licensees include everyone that the FCC has demanded have a licenses.

              Which is a wildly different set of people from "Everyone who's licensed content from a third party," which is what I was pointing out (and is certainly important given the conflation of the two on the part of the post I was replying to).

              In other words, you arent saying much.. even though you thought yourself clever.

              If you don't think there's a massive difference between the set of people who license copyrighted material and the peo

              • by Rockoon (1252108)

                If you don't think there's a massive difference between the set of people who license copyrighted material and the people who are FCC licensed, I don't know what to say.

                Have you ever observed the FCC reduce its regulator scope, or has it always been increasing its regulator scope?

                Thanks for not accepting reality.

                • by pthisis (27352)

                  Have you ever observed the FCC reduce its regulator scope, or has it always been increasing its regulator scope?

                  That's completely irrelevant to question at hand.

                  One last time: there's a set of people who are FCC licensees. Those people are potentially affected by the IPTV regulations. There's a different set of people who license copyright from third parties. These sets are distinct but not disjoint. Members of the latter set are not affected by the IPTV regulations, except insofar as they happen to ove

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I love how you're so hooked on your millenial trough that you missed the only true live broadcasting service that pays no licensing fees to anyone.. Aereo.

  • Dear FCC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rossdee (243626) on Saturday August 17, 2013 @03:59PM (#44596139)

    The Internet is not only in the USA - it is also in the rest of the world and outside your jurisdiction

  • This is at the behest of somebody to use government to twist somebody else to their advantage. End of story.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As an AT&T Uverse subscriber, I definitely want the FCC to start regulating my IPTV. To the end user, the services provided by Uverse are identical to those provided by Comcast except that Comcast is more strongly regulated by the FCC. Perhaps the most immediate concern to me is that Uverse requires all subscribers to indefinitely rent their equipment. There is no rent to own for AT&T, and there are no 3rd party options. You must rent their DVR. You must rent their set-top boxes.

    With Comcast the sit

  • The FCC was created to regulate radio.

    It shouldn't be regulating cable tv and has no right to regulate internet communication.

    • by profplump (309017)

      No. The Federal Radio Commission was create to regulate radio. It was supersede by the Federal Communications Commission which is empowered to regulate both wireless and wired networks. To quote 47 USC 151: "Federal Communications Commission created for the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio"

  • The main reasons for an FCC are to prevent monopolization of the existing infrastructure and to determine the usage of wireless frequencies. IP-based services do not fall in either category. The FCC just wants to seem relevant.

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