The TV Everywhere partnership among the nation’s top multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) and programmers has come under scrutiny by consumer groups, which have asked the FCC and lawmakers to investigate the initiative. These groups fear that the partnership will prevent online-only video distributors from competing effectively against the cable and satellite television industries. Launched by Comcast and Time Warner, Inc., TV Everywhere is intended to enable MVPD subscribers to access on the Internet TV programming offered by their cable, satellite, or wireline telephony providers at no additional charge. When TV Everywhere was announced in June, Comcast and Time Warner indicated that the business model would be “open and non-exclusive” to permit other cable, satellite and telco-based TV providers to enter into similar arrangements with program distributors. Since June, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has begun online program tests under the initiative, and AT&T, Verizon, and DirecTV have expressed an interest in developing similar services of their own. In a letter delivered Monday, the Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, Free Press, and four other advocacy groups asked the FCC, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and House and Senate leaders to examine the antitrust implications of the TV Everywhere project. Noting that online-only TV distributors are not included in the initiative, the groups charged that the plan represents a transposition of “the existing cable TV model on the online TV market.” While urging regulators to “take a tough look,” the groups stressed that they do not oppose a subscription-based model for online video services per se and that they merely object to MVPD policies that limit online access to MVPD programming to subscribers. As National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow responded that the groups’ claims “have no factual or legal basis,” Time Warner emphasized that the goal of TV Everywhere is to provide “consumers who subscribe to cable, satellite, telephone or multi-video platforms with more value for their money by allowing them to watch their favorite shows . . . on both their TVs and over the Internet at no additional charge.”