The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering whether to treat certain online video services the same way it treats cable and satellite TV providers in the US.
The move would help the online services get cheaper access to major network programming and could allow them to become stronger competitors to the dominant pay-TV providers like Comcast.
The FCC’s Media Bureau is working on the proposal, which could be shared more broadly within the commission as early as this week, according to an FCC official.
The proposal would apply only to online services that offer streams of prescheduled programming. So the rules wouldn’t cover Netflix, which allows subscribers to watch videos whenever they want. But it could revive the controversial online video service Aereo, which allowed subscribers to watch broadcast TV channels on their computers and Internet-connected TVs. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Aereo was stealing the broadcasters’ copyrighted content.