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A La Carte Cable and Net Neutrality

You may not know it, but your cable provider has a stranglehold on what you’re watching. And they’re using some nefarious means to keep you on their hook. Their methods are at the heart of the “net neutrality” war that just saw a small victory for the consumer side.

US Senator Jay Rockefeller recently introduced legislation that will encourage the growth of inline video platforms and limit the practices of “anti-competitive” behavior by the cable companies. It’s called the “Consumer Choice in Online Video Act.” Keep an eye on it.

Here are a couple things the bill would do:

1. Bar cable, satellite broadband and large media companies from engaging in anti-competitive practices against online distributors. Basically, the big media companies could no longer force networks to sign contracts that prevent them from distributing their content to other video platforms.

2. Limit the ability of broadband providers to degrade online video service. Are you a Comcast internet subscriber who likes to stream movies through Netflix? Guess what: there’s a good chance Comcast is purposefully degrading the stream, since you are choosing to watch content via Netflix and not Comcast cable. The bill would aim to limit this practice.

Expect some push back by the rather robust cable lobby on this one.

Credit: Quartz