FCC Delays 'Unlock the Box' Decision

Sept. 30, 2016
The FCC removed its set-top box order from its open meeting agenda this week. The proposal will go on the commission's circulation list and ...

The FCC removed its set-top box order from its open meeting agenda this week. The proposal will go on the commission's circulation list and remain under consideration by full the commission.

A joint statement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said: "It's time for consumers to say goodbye to costly set-top boxes. It's time for more ways to watch and more lower cost options. That's why we have been working to update our policies under Section 629 of the Communications Act in order to foster a competitive market for these devices. We have made tremendous progress - and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices. We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues, and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country."

In its official statement, the NCTA said: "We are pleased that the FCC has chosen to delay consideration of its set-top box item and hope that additional time will lead to meaningful public review and comment on any newly crafted proposal under consideration. Our industry is committed to a future where viewers have the freedom to watch their favorite shows on a wide variety of tablets, streaming consoles, smartphones and other connected devices. We will continue our efforts to innovate in the marketplace to expand consumer choice, promote market innovation, protect the rights of content holders, and respect consumer privacy."

In a statement, Developers Alliance President and CEO Jake Ward said, in part: "The FCC's delay of today's vote is a good thing, but only if they take this time to consider all the potential unintended consequences of government intervention into a dynamic market. We are at the cusp of true innovation and opportunity for viewers, publishers, and providers. No one knows what will happen next, and that is the point."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz wrote, in part: "It is refreshing to see the FCC slow down the regulatory process to consider alternatives to these new proposed rules. The proposal before the commission had changed so dramatically from the initial set-top box proposal that it is well worth putting on the brakes and allowing further deliberation and public scrutiny on the proposal."

"CAGW will be reviewing the new rules closely, watching for any sign of potential copyright infringements, technological mandates that will restrict innovation, and wasteful or duplicative spending."

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