One of the major arguments against the FCC’s proposal to “Unlock the Box” is that it’s a problem that really doesn’t need fixing given the way the set-top market is naturally going anyway. Taking it a step further, many opinions have the proposal causing severe harm to pay TV innovation and American consumers at large.
This is how the National Cable & Telecommunications Association overviews its point of view in a recent blog post: “It is so puzzling that the FCC finds it necessary to propose a complicated and backwards-looking set-top box mandate that has unleashed a torrent of criticism from a significant (and growing) coalition of diverse voices. After all, the entire TV ecosystem is moving away from a hardware-centric world and into one that relies on apps and IP connected devices to unleash the amazing programming, new bundles and other features being offered by various content creators, TV providers and technology companies.”
The NCTA further charges that the FCC’s potential set-top box mandate threatens to harm competition and innovation by “strong arming pay TV providers into giving away for free valuable programming to third parties, for them to rearrange, repurpose and monetize without responsibilities or obligations.”
NCTA filed comments this week with the Commission saying that the proposal will unnecessarily hurt content creators of all sizes, TV providers and others, as well as American consumers in general.
The American Cable Association, which represents small and medium-sized independent operators, also filed comments with the FCC that proposed the Commission abandon its proposal to impose the new technical mandates on pay TV providers or cause “irreversible harm” especially in smaller or rural communities.
“The FCC’s set-top box proposal would have a devastating impact on small pay TV operators. As a result of burdensome mandates proposed by the FCC, more than 200 small providers would either go out of business or cease offering video service, leaving their customers, especially in rural communities, with fewer competitive options, “ ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka, says. “For those that do manage to stay afloat, they’ll be faced with having to forgo important investments in innovations and broadband expansion or pass on increased costs to their subscribers.”
Obviously, many comments also were filed in support of “Unlock the Box,” including one from long-time advocate of the proposal, Public Knowledge.
“Public Knowledge continues to believe that the FCC’s proposal to unlock the box provides the best path forward for consumers, programmers, content creators and innovators in the modern video marketplace,” John Gasparini, policy fellow at Public Knowledge, says.
“Our comments reflect our conviction that the competitive navigation solution will lower prices for consumers, increase opportunity for diverse and independent voices, and promote new, creative devices and apps for subscribers to access the content for which they pay,” he adds.
Filed Under: Industry regulations