BOSTON — Most consumers have no idea what an M.V.P.D. is, but they mail a check to one every month. What they call Comcast or Time Warner Cable or DirecTV, the government calls a “multichannel video programming distributor,” or M.V.P.D. for short.
When that mouthful of a phrase was coined decades ago, it was pretty easy to identify what was a multichannel distributor — any cable or satellite company — and just as important, what wasn’t. But the Internet is changing that — so profoundly, in fact, that the Federal Communications Commission is now rethinking even the definition of the word “channel.”