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Telletopia Creates Foundation to Lobby FCC on MPVD Definition

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In order to lobby the FCC about changing the definition of what constitutes an MVPD, Telletopia has created the TV Neutrality Alliance. Telletopia believes that online video distributors (OVDs) of broadcast signals should be classified as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

Telletopia, a registered nonprofit, emerged in late 2015 exploiting a loophole in copyright law that lets nonprofits retransmit live television without a compulsory license. Joining it in the TV Neutrality Alliance are BiggyTV, BitTorrent, Camino Real Communications, Cocola Broadcasting Companies, Cooper Communications, Pi Omni-Media LLC, Pluto TV, and Ventura Broadcasting Company.

In the current landscape, a few large companies have a virtual monopoly on the pay TV business, asserts Telletopia CEO and co-founder Gary Koerper. The proposed change would increase competition and benefit the consumers, he adds.

In its FCC filing, the alliance suggests that all OVDs that offer multi-channel content but don't broadcast shouldn't be subject to existing MVPD regulations. It proposes that only OVDs that want to benefit from retransmission consent should be required to comply with the FCC's regulations on retransmission.

As is, OVDs lack retransmission consent mechanisms and ways to compensate broadcasters for carriage. Changing that would level the playing field, the alliance says, giving OVDs the same rights and responsibilities as MVPDs.

"TV viewers want to watch live, local broadcast TV online and we need the FCC's help to pave the way for new offerings that benefit both consumers and broadcasters," Koerper adds.

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