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Hearing of the Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee - Online Video Content

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, today encouraged the broadband and digital innovation that is shaping the online video market, and renewed his call to expand affordable Internet service to ensure that all Americans have equal access to viewing online video content.

"Mr. Chairman, I want us to help enable, empower, and grow this innovation. I think that means that on the wireless side, we need to better manage and release more spectrum because video takes up significant bandwidth," said Sen. Kerry. "And on the wired side, we need to continue pushing out broadband networks to underserved regions like Western Massachusetts, as we did in the stimulus."

The full text of Senator Kerry's statement, as prepared, is below:

Mr. Chairman, thank you. There's not a person in this room who doesn't see on a daily basis the ways in which broadband and digital technologies are reshaping the video landscape. Innovations from YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Facebook, Netflix and many others have made it possible for Hollywood to distribute traditional television and movies over the Internet and for the rest of us to produce and distribute our own video creations worldwide -- from cats, dogs and children doing funny things, to serious, independently made documentaries that galvanize action, including the Kony video that made Americans think for the first time about atrocities in Uganda. Smartphone and tablet companies are making it possible to capture that video not just on your television or computer, but anytime, anywhere.

These services and content ride on a wired and wireless broadband infrastructure that cable, telephone, and satellite companies have developed at significant cost -- and now these companies are using their new broadband capabilities to distribute the content they control in new ways, such as through the Comcast-Microsoft Xbox partnership or through their own Internet sites.

Mr. Chairman, I want us to help enable, empower, and grow this innovation. I think that means that on the wireless side, we need to better manage and release more spectrum because video takes up significant bandwidth. And on the wired side, we need to continue pushing out broadband networks to underserved regions like Western Massachusetts, as we did in the stimulus.

We must also continue to protect net neutrality to enable anyone to make and distribute video without having to ask for permission from their cable or telephone internet service provider. And we must make it easier and more affordable for families still offline to adopt broadband service.

This hearing will examine the role of video in the online market and whether the Internet is simply a compliment to the traditional cable and satellite video distribution systems, a potential disruptor of those systems, or a potential competitor to them. As of today, nobody has created an Internet based video delivery service that provides consumers with competing and comparable access to programming that a multi channel cable or satellite subscription provides. I hope to get answers from the witnesses today on why that is and whether or not we can or should do anything about it.

A hearing like this is critical as we consider the role of government in this market going forward. It will help us understand how free Americans are to engage in the creation and consumption of video on fair terms and at fair prices as well the role that competition plays in driving those choices. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and exploring the topic in detail.

Thank you.


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