There are many fans of FCC Chair Tom Wheeler’s set-top box proposal. There are many foes. Joining the nay in a big way side yesterday were a group of 60 lawmakers — mostly GOP, but it was bipartisan — who sent a letter Wheeler’s way stating that the proposal would jeopardize the evolution of digital video services.
The letter particularly called out threats to smaller pay TV operators in rural markets, and also those that provide alternatives in urban areas.
“These providers are often at the forefront of innovation, allowing consumers to access programming through an array of devices,” the letter says. “The FCC must take care to ensure their proposal, which is intended to lower costs for consumers and provide more competitive choices, does not inadvertently lead to higher prices and less consumer choice, as government mandates often do.”
The American Cable Association applauds the letter. Its President and CEO Matthew Polka says the legislators who signed it “recognize the important services small providers offer to their consumers, and they are concerned this proposal would not only harm these providers and their customers, but would also reverse the progress they have made in this increasingly competitive environment.”
Polka states that regardless of where consumers live, consumers increasingly are able to access video content from their pay TV and other providers, inside and outside of the home and on more devices today than ever before. “This is due in no small part to smaller pay TV providers that often lead the way in offering advanced video services and devices to their customers in rural communities and competitive alternatives in urban markets,” he says.
“For this reason alone, the FCC’s set-top box proposal to mandate that smaller pay TV providers disaggregate and cede control of their networks to others makes no sense,” Polka adds. “Further, the costs of the FCC’s mandates would cripple many smaller providers, forcing them to exit the business, reduce critical investments or raise consumer prices.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations