Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed formal comments with the FCC Friday, pointing out the benefits of its proposal for empowering customers with more options for choosing how they want to watch TV. Last month FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler offered a proposal that would open up the set-top box marketplace and allow innovators to develop new ways for consumers to access the pay-TV programming to which they subscribe. Currently, cable companies reap $19.5 billion every year on the fees they charge consumers for leasing cable-provided set-top boxes.

Much like old, black rotary dial phones, CCIA expects that when the market becomes more competitive, customers will see more innovation in how they access their pay-TV content and lower prices.

CCIA  has advocated on competition issues for more than 40 years and helped organize the Consumer Video Choice Coalition: consumervideochoice.org. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black.

“The FCC’s proposed rulemaking would finally bring TV choices up and costs down. The FCC should be commended for ensuring strong copyright and privacy protections will continue. To achieve the desired impact, the FCC will have to require open standards and that cable and other companies offer equal access to content for all outside or third party devices.”

“When we remember the innovation and consumer benefit that occurred in the phone world when similarly opened to competition, that is a compelling motivation to bring real competition to cable TV devices.”

“When we hear the cable industry make dire predictions about consumer or content protection, it reminds us of the many flawed arguments we also heard decades ago when the market for telephones was being opened up to competition. We understand their not wanting competition.  Their vehemence in opposition is a good measure of how much consumers, who now overpay to cable because of lack of competition, will benefit.”

 

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