FCC official: Cable should embrace OTT… or lose its dominance

Blair Levin, the chief architect of the FCC's National Broadband Plan told an American Cable Association policy summit that as far back as the mid-1990s it was becoming apparent that the Internet eventually would replace broadcasting and cable as the primary source of video entertainment. He urged cable operators to aggressively adopt over-the-top delivery as one way to maintain their relevance, adding that a la carte program selection will challenge the current bundle model so despised by consumers.

"Over-the-top video will eventually emerge as a challenge to the current model of large, expensive bundles of programming," he said in his presentation, "Owning the Inevitable." And, while he gave the cable industry credit for developing its own Internet service offerings, he warned it that if it waited too long to jump into OTT, it risked being left in the dust.

"You don't want to be the industry that says no to the set-top equivalent of the iPhone, particularly when in broadband, such functionality offers such a competitive edge over one of your competitors, the DBS [direct broadcast satellite] industry," he said.

The FCC Wednesday is scheduled to open an inquiry on creating an STB to merge broadband and traditional video.

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