Major cable companies are getting worried they could face stiffer competition from online video, thanks to a new government proposal. The Federal Communications Commission is working on a plan to give online TV services all of the same regulatory perks that cable companies get. Putting online companies on equal footing with cable providers like Comcast could usher in a new wave of competition in the TV industry—potentially meaning more choices and lower prices for consumers. The FCC is mulling the change just as online video is making major strides toward becoming a mainstream alternative to the established TV providers. HBO plans to offer online-only subscriptions next year, and CBS launched its own digital service earlier this month. But the cable companies are opposed to the plan and are lobbying the FCC to reverse course. The cable companies also have an ace up their sleeves: They control the Internet access that the new video competitors depend on.
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