Press Release

FCC Moves to Save Consumers Billions in Set-top Box Rental Fees

January 27, 2016 , , , ,

Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced a forthcoming item that could greatly benefit TV viewers by saving them billions in cable overcharges. Public Knowledge applauds the Commission for its video device competition Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which could be a significant step toward breaking open the stranglehold pay TV giants have over consumers and programmers alike.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:

“By moving forward with a rulemaking, the Commission has taken an important step to unleash competition among devices used to access television programming by making it easy for people to access the TV they pay for on devices and through apps of their choice. Because of this, consumers could save billions in set-top box rental fees, and the video device market could benefit from the same technological and economic forces that have put a mobile supercomputer into millions of pockets. By eliminating cables’ stranglehold on the predominant way that people watch TV, the Commission will create opportunities for programmers who want to access viewers without passing through the cable gatekeeper. Minority, diverse, and independent programmers in particular will benefit from this more open market with fewer channel restrictions.

“The experts have described in minute detail what technology is needed to promote competition. Now, the Commission must actually turn this into policy. Public Knowledge looks forward to providing the Commission with proposals on how to address the various discrete policy issues they have identified in this NPRM in a way that allows the competitive navigation proposal to succeed.

“The video marketplace has been slow to respond to the changes in business models and technology that have swept through other media. In part, this is because many incumbents control content, distribution, and the devices people can access programming on. With this action, the Commission is taking steps to introduce more competition into the marketplace, which saves viewers money while giving them access to more programming and new innovative technology.”

Please view our fact sheet on set-top boxes and competitive navigation or video marketplace issue page for more information. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using #UnlockTheBox.

 

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