Internet TV may have just gotten the break it needed. The Federal Communications Commission officially proposed a rule change today that would give any company that wants to carry television shows the ability to license them from cable and broadcast networks. That's a big deal, because networks aren't required to negotiate with most companies in the same way that they negotiate with cable and satellite providers. If this proposal goes into effect, any company that wants to offer TV shows over the internet will have the same negotiating powers to do so as a traditional TV provider would, meaning that internet TV providers could finally get off the ground.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced his intention to propose this back in October, writing that "21st century consumers shouldn’t be shackled to rules that only recognize 20th century technology." Under this new proposal, any company using any technology to broadcast video streams would have the ability to license content owned by cable and broadcast networks. In effect, the commission is just expanding the rules that Congress once used to give satellite TV providers a leg up — and it's clear that that effort worked. Following today's proposal, there will be a 30-to-45-day comment period on the proposal. Should it go into effect just as the FCC is hoping, it could mean some big changes for the tech industry. Chief among them: we may finally get a real Apple TV.