Internet TV may be a real rival to cable soon

Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is serious about leveling the playing field between cable companies and Internet-based video providers.

A rule proposed by the FCC would mean broadcasters must allow Internet TV providers the right to negotiate to carry their content. By allowing equal access to cable stations, online video companies will be granted a true chance to compete against cable companies.

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Every day, more people consume TV online but the laws and regulations haven't changed in years, according to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He wrote in the FCC's blog, "Twenty-first century consumers shouldn't be shackled to rules that only recognize 20th century technology."

Wheeler also views it as a way to promote innovation among TV providers and because of that, more competition, which would ultimately be better for the consumer.

"Consumers have long complained about how their cable service forces them to buy channels they never watch. The move of video onto the Internet can do something about that frustration, but first Internet video services need access to the programs. Today the FCC takes the first step to open access to cable programs as well as local television. The result should be to give consumers more alternatives from which to choose so they can buy the programs they want."

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The proposal wouldn't apply to streaming providers like Netflix and Hulu but to multichannel video programming distributors.