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Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that he close the docket on the set-top box proceeding. All Republican members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee also joined the letter.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:
"Despite the change in administration, the FCC has a law to abide by and an obligation to implement. Section 629 of the Communications Act is the law of the land, and it directs the FCC to ensure that consumers can choose from a competitive market for 'unaffiliated' devices that can access their complete cable TV or other pay-TV subscriptions.
“Ending the set-top box monopoly would bring the benefits of competition, including lower prices and better devices, to cable subscribers. Consumers currently spend about $20 billion a year for overpriced boxes they aren’t allowed to dump. They should be able to access online and cable programming in one integrated interface, boosting programming diversity and allowing access to alternative viewpoints. Despite the FCC’s recent efforts on this issue, the law has not been enforced and consumers continue to be burdened by a multi-billion dollar set-top box ripoff.
"Chairman Pai should continue the FCC’s work to bring consumers relief in this matter."