Victor Wynne

Cities ask Netflix, Hulu, streaming services to pay cable fees

Andrew Welsh-Huggins reporting for The Associated Press:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Should Netflix and other streaming services have to pay local governments the same fees levied on cable operators?

That was the question before the Ohio Supreme Court during a Wednesday hearing, as the court debates whether streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are covered by a state law that would require them to pay to play.

The argument is similar to one in several other states, where cities are trying to force streaming service companies to pay cable operator fees.

At issue in Ohio is the state’s 2007 Video Service Authorization law, which directed the state Commerce Department to determine what entities must obtain permission to physically install cables and wires in a public right-of-way. Companies deemed video service providers must pay a fee to local governments under that law.

Officials with Maple Heights in suburban Cleveland contend that streaming services are subject to the fee because their content is delivered via the internet over cables and wires.

These streaming services should absolutely be required to pay these fees levied by state and local governments. If it weren’t for the broadband internet providers they wouldn’t exist. One could also argue that they are responsible for the majority of internet traffic so this just makes logical sense.