Aereo pushes FCC to create new rule to help company 'relaunch'

The online television company Aereo is pushing the Federal Communications Commission to carve out a rule to classify the company like other cable and satellite providers. 

Last week, the company met with a number of FCC commissioners and staffers to push the agency to expand the definition of "multichannel video programming distributors" (MVPD), which includes video service providers like cable and satellite companies. 


Aereo wants its business model to fit into that definition. 

Aereo, which halted operation earlier this year, is a online television company that uses a series of small antennas to pick up broadcast signals and stream them to people's online devices for a subscription fee. It paused its operation after the Supreme Court in June ruled that its model violated copyright law by not paying fees to broadcasters, which is required of other cable and satellite companies. 

An appeals court in August denied the company’s request to be reclassified as a cable company. 

Aereo said it has demonstrated that consumers want access to local broadcast television over the Internet and it pleaded for the FCC to expand the definition. 

"Aereo’s experience in the market has demonstrated that consumers want and will subscribe to a service that provides convenient access to local broadcast television programs via the Internet for a reasonable monthly fee," the company wrote in a FCC filing. 

It called for the FCC to issue a proposed rule "within the next several weeks" in order to allow the company to "relaunch as a viable and sustainable" company that can compete with traditional providers. 

"We believe that creating regulatory parity and a clear set of rules among linear video programming systems will increase investment and competition in the video programming market, allow new entrants to emerge and provide consumers with new and innovative video products," Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in a blog post Monday.