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New FCC Head Says the Commission Needs to Address the "Dynamism" Driving Online Video

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While new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler declined to provide specifics on any new FCC policies or programs he planned to implement that would affect streaming video, he did say that “the dynamism” of what is happening with online video is “something we (the FCC) seriously have to address.”

On Nov. 14, Wheeler held his first press conference since assuming the position of FCC chairman. At the press conference Wheeler praised initiatives that “promote… debate, discussions, review” of online video policies. However, when asked by Streaming Media if he reviewed the FCC’s current programs and policies that directly and indirectly support streaming video, Wheeler said, “That is an issue that I’m not ready to talk about.”

Wheeler, who assumed the chairmanship on Nov. 4, also declined to say if he planned to implement any new policies or programs, or amend current FCC programs that support streaming video.

The FCC has a handful of programs that indirectly support streaming video, according to a commission official. Some of those programs and what they are designed to accomplish include the following:

  • The Connect America Fund seeks to expand broadband in rural parts of the country.
  • Updating the “e-rate,” an effort to support high-capacity broadband.
  • Open internet policies seek to increase the likelihood that users can launch applications and services, including streaming video.
  • Measuring Broadband America is a study that collects data by providers that has driven improvements in speed and other parameters of streaming video. The FCC plans to expand the program to collect mobile data.
  • The FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative supports the deployment of broadband.

While Wheeler would not provide details about what programs and policies he might implement to support streaming video, he did say “what’s happening in the video marketplace” is going to require the FCC to take action.

But before the FCC acts, the commission “has to figure out where the policy ramifications are,” Wheeler said. However, the commission has “not made any conclusions as to what the policy ramifications are, but you would have to live on another planet not to know that there are dynamic changes taking place,” he added.

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