YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court is a win for streaming services.
While the cost savings are going to the services, in turn, it will help keep your bill down, too – theoretically.
The case that was decided by the Ohio Supreme Court surrounds whether streaming services should be treated like cable companies and therefore charged franchise fees by municipalities.
The court ruled that services such as Hulu and Netflix are not “video service providers.” That seems strange, right? But it comes down to a case filed by Maple Heights. They saw the streaming services as video providers that need authorization from the Ohio Department of Commerce to operate and therefore would owe local franchise fees.
So what’s the difference between cable and services like Netflix? The wires to install it.
Justice Michael P. Donnelly explained in the ruling that the state’s “scheme for regulating video service applies to those who install wires in public rights-of-way to broadcast to subscribers. Because Netflix and Hulu are accessed through the public internet and do not install wires, they are exempt from the requirement that they be authorized by the state to provide service.”
In addition, the court said that municipalities can’t bring legal action against streaming services, only the commerce director can do that.
The court was divided 4-3 on the decision.