FCC Vote Brings Video Choice One Step Closer For Consumers

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Today, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, requesting comment on a proposal to allow pay TV customers to access programming on the devices and apps of their choice without having to rent a set-top box from their cable provider. Public Knowledge applauds the FCC for taking such a significant step toward breaking open the stranglehold pay TV giants have over consumers.

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

"A few weeks ago, Chairman Wheeler indicated that the FCC is going to 'unlock the box' and allow consumers to use the devices of their choice to watch TV. Since then, the reaction from the public has been overwhelmingly supportive. Independent programmers, technology companies, and smaller pay TV providers have also seen the opportunities that a more open market creates.

“Big cable and its allies are predictably opposed to the FCC's action. With so many billions of dollars in rental fees at stake, we can expect the opponents of competition to make every argument they can as to why the FCC should preserve the status quo. Nevertheless, we're confident that the case for unlocking the box is clear. Users will benefit, and the law, the business case, and the technological realities all support the FCC's proposal.

“The current FCC has promoted competition and protected diversity in a number of areas. The Open Internet is one important part of this. Promoting online video, and breaking open the gatekeeper control that incumbents have over what programming people can easily access, is another important part. We look forward to working with all stakeholders in helping to bring about a video, device, and app marketplace that benefits consumers while unleashing opportunities for innovators, programmers, and creators of all kinds.”

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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