The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that explores whether companies that offer video services over the internet, also knows as "over the top" or OTT providers, should be considered cable companies the same as those who send video over their own networks. The NPRM, Docket FCC 14-210, provides further evidence that the FCC is prepared to make major changes to how consumers can receive entertainment.
However the advent of broadband has enabled companies such as Netflix and Hulu to deliver video over a customer's broadband connection instead of their own networks. Other programming providers such as ESPN and others also allow cable companies to "stream" content to their customers, a concept known as "TV Everywhere". Currently that content is limited to previously aired material or a limited amount of live content and can only be accessed if you subscribe to cable.
The appeal of providing a complete OTT cable TV service has led several large and powerful companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Sony to work on assembling an internet-delivered package of linear channels. Sony has even announced that it will launch it's offering, minus several key networks such as ESPN, in 2015. But the FCC's rules, which are geared toward traditional cable networks, create limitations on the rollout of these virtual cable companies. The NPRM will address this by asking for comment on a number of issues.
CCG Consulting has an excellent explanation of the FCC's Notice on their Pots and Pans blog. CLICK HERE to read.