CCIA Submits Set-Top Box Whitepaper: “Unlock the Box: How to Address Opposition and Boost Competition”

BY Heather Greenfield
August 18, 2016

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association has submitted a white paper to the FCC today that offers a way to bridge the gap between the FCC’s plan to bring competition to TV set-top boxes and its opponents. The cable industry and others have offered an alternative apps plan that would still leave them in control while falling short on ensuring competition and consumer choice.

CCIA’s white paper outlines a solution that would build on the apps proposal, add competitive elements from the FCC’s plan and use existing technology to address critics’ concerns. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Increasingly millions of consumers use technological products and services to access massive and expanding amounts of digital video content.  That basic reality is the fundamental reason that getting the policy in this area correct is so important. Making that access maximally convenient and minimally cumbersome while fairly accommodating legitimate stakeholder interests is the challenge facing policy makers.  

“Meaningful competition will promote innovation and enhance consumer experience. The discussion often involves technical terms and data, but the essence of the debate remains simple. Consumers should be able to access the content they have paid for and they should have choice in how they do they do that. Third-party devices should not be expected to compete on an unlevel playing field.

“The concerns expressed by opponents of the FCC plan to Unlock the Box can be remedied with existing technologies, security and certification practices. For example, consumers have confidence in online shopping or banking on websites that have a ‘lock icon’ that signals a ‘secure’ website rather than an ‘imposter’ site, and that can be done here, too.   A Digital Certificate from a certified authority for third-party set-top boxes would allow the FCC to protect stakeholders and unlock the box.”
For additional information on this issue, see Black’s op ed published by Morning Consult.

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