Today’s FCC public meeting focused on the future of set-top boxes and the current CableCARD regime.
The inquiry asks for comment on developing an interface device in the home for “all consumer devices,” which the FCC says will achieve four key goals:
1) Spur investment and innovation in the market for retail devices that work with any pay TV service
2) Allow providers to innovate and compete in offering services without requiring consumers to switch devices
3) Generate more competition and consumer choice.
4) Encourage wider broadband use and adoption.
NCTA issued a statement today from Kyle McSlarrow, our President & CEO:
We applaud the Commission for adopting a Notice of Inquiry that will explore how best to achieve a competitive retail marketplace for devices that can access the video services of all multichannel providers. We are very pleased that the Notice appears to be consistent with the series of consumer principles governing video devices which we have submitted to the Commission, especially in its recognition that the appropriate solution must involve all multichannel video providers.
We also welcome and applaud the Commission’s targeted examination of the current CableCARD regime, particularly the proposal to increase our industry’s ability to deploy low cost high-definition Digital Terminal Adapters. Low cost digital adapters are a vital tool for all cable systems to recapture bandwidth that can be used to provide consumers with faster broadband speeds, more HD channels, and other interactive services.
The participation of all Multichannel Video Programming Distributors is quite critical. I’ll point you to this previous post: Comments on the Video Device Recommendations in the National Broadband Plan. Here’s a key quote:
The cable industry has consistently asked the Commission to take a fresh look at the CableCARD and navigation device rules in light of today’s market where 40 million consumers subscribe to video service from satellite and telephone providers. Most of cable’s competitors have been exempted from the rules which clearly haven’t led us to the place that Congress envisioned in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Any approach isn’t going to be completely effective if only the cable industry is implementing it.