Internet TV company Network2 has asked the FCC to declare the commission has no authority to regulate video over the Internet.
According to a copy of the petition supplied to B&C the company, led by VOIP pioneer Jeff Pulver, has asked the FCC to declare that its IP-based Internet video service is not a cable or broadcast service subject to FCC regulation."The considerable barriers to entry that characterize broadcast and cable services - spectrum licenses, local franchises, dedicated infrastructure, significant commitments of capital, the need for critical mass viewership - simply do not apply to Internet Video services," the company argues. "For a society that values open expression, and for an agency that promotes national policies favoring a diversity of viewpoints in electronic media, Internet Video promises public interest benefits that exceed all prior goals for media diversity."The company has asked for an FCC ruling that its IP Video service is free of Title III regulations--broadcast regulations rooted in the scarcity argument--and Title VI regulations--multichannel video regulations rooted in the "gatekeeper" argument. Neither apply to Internet video, the company argues."The resources needed to launch a new Internet Video service and to make it available to consumers everywhere are plentiful and becoming less costly day by day...Similarly, the 'bottleneck' attribute of cable television service is inapplicable. Short of malicious code, which is illegal in any event, no Internet Video provider can block access to any other."Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, says such a ruling would be premature. "Multiplaform access rules will be needed for political speech on mobile and IPTV platforms," he says. "Rules protecting news and public affairs and advertising safeguards will be needed, including protecting children," he said.