Public Comment

FCC Set-Top Box Proposal Based Upon Faulty Economic Foundation, Will Harm Consumers, Innovators And Golden Age Of Television, Warns CALinnovates

Proposal Based Upon Flawed Data Fails to Embrace Consumer-Driven Promise of App-Based Future

SAN FRANCISCOApril 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) set-top box proposal is an example of a one-size-fits-all tech mandate that rarely if ever works in practice and should be scuttled, tech advocacy group CALinnovates said in its filing to the agency.

“Our analysis found that the FCC’s proposal would result in higher bills, more advertisements, and less diversity and innovation on TV,” said CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery. “It is apparent that with this set-top box proposal the FCC is missing the forest for the trees.  Specifically, the Commission obsesses over the size of one ancient, crumbling tree – missing the thriving vegetation sprouting around it.”

In its filing, CALinnovates warns that the rulemaking is unnecessary given the breakneck speed of innovation in the marketplace. “Indeed, with change proceeding at such a rapid pace, one can only imagine how much the video consumption market will advance and reinvent itself before the FCC could even promulgate, much less implement, a final rule,” added Montgomery.

CALinnovates’ filing also included an in-depth analysis by Dr. Christian M. Dippon of NERA Economic Consulting. Dr. Dippon’s economic analysis highlights the number of ways that the FCC’s proposal will harm the entire video distribution ecosystem, including customers, suppliers, MVPDs, and content creators.

“If the FCC nevertheless implements its proposed regulations, there is no realistic promise of lower prices and increased innovation,” writes Dr. Dippon. “To the contrary, any intervention in a competitive market stands to harm the market, its participants, and ultimately consumers.”

Read the full release here.

Announcement by Comcast, Roku and Samsung highlights illusory narrative from FCC on set-top boxes

April 20th, 2016

“Today’s announcement that Xfinity customers will be able to access their content via the Roku platform, HTML5 apps and connected TVs such as the Samsung Smart TV without the need for a leased or owned set-top box is the latest example of how users can watch what they want, when they want and how they want. It’s also a not-so-subtle reminder to the FCC that innovation is happening at breakneck speed and is being driven by consumer demand rather than regulatory intervention. Innovation, such as the Xfinity Partner Program, continues to reshape the entertainment horizon.

Moving forward, we expect more examples of how live broadcast TV, on-demand options and gaming will continue to converge to the delight of consumers, their viewing preferences and their checkbooks. Soon the days of set-top boxes will be a distant memory. The Xfinity TV Partner Program announcement further cements our views that regulatory intervention in the set-top box market is unwarranted, as the future, according to consumers, is app-driven rather than box-driven. Despite today’s outstanding news from Comcast, Roku and Samsung, the FCC continues to careen down a perilous path that endangers future investment and innovation in the virtuous cycle that supports the current Golden Age of television.”

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