Regulators
×

FCC commissioner Tom Wheeler proposes universal TV set-top-box

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/regulators-images/2016/01/28/Federal-Communications-Commission.jpg?itok=dkYjPqmN

MUMBAI: In an attempt to overhaul the rules for television, tear down anti-competitive barriers and pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions to compete with set-top boxes (STBs), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed universal STBs for television, which would allow consumers to view traditional cable and streaming video content on television.

Wheeler is targeting a vote on 18 February by the five-member FCC on a proposal to overhaul the rules for STBs, which connect to cable, satellite and fiberoptic video systems.

The proposed regulation would let customers get video services from providers instead of cable, satellite and other television providers.

“Ninety-nine per cent of pay-TV subscribers are chained to their set-top boxes because cable and satellite operators have locked up the market,” the FCC said.

According to the FCC, Americans spent $20 billion a year to lease pay-TV boxes, or an average of $231 a year. STB rental fees have jumped 185 per cent since 1994, while the cost of TVs, computers and mobile phones have dropped by 90 per cent.

Recognising the importance of a competitive marketplace, the Congress directed the Commission to adopt rules that will ensure consumers will be able to use the device they prefer for accessing programming they’ve paid for.

The FCC said that the only change it was proposing was to allow consumers alternative means of accessing the content they pay for.

Wheeler’s proposal will create a framework for providing innovators, device manufacturers and app developers the information they need to develop new technologies. Consumers should be able to choose how they access the Multichannel Video Programming Distributor’s (MVPDs) – cable, satellite or telco companies – video services to which they subscribe.

“A competitive marketplace is required by a 1996 law. Set-top boxes should be open to pay-TV rivals using formats that conform to specifications set by an independent, open standards body,” the FCC said.

The proposal will help promote interoperability and remove barriers to innovation, prevent theft and misuse, lift up independent and minority programming content, honour the sanctity of contracts by providing copyright protection,  provide consumer protection by offering emergency alerts, privacy and advertising restrictions.

It will also offer consumers more choice, greater flexibility, increased innovation, more competition and better prices.

While the proposal has been welcomed by some, others have pooh-poohed it.

“The promising slate of reforms proposed by (the chairman) could potentially allow consumers greater access to the content that they pay for, granting greater control over when, where, and how they want to access it, on the device they choose, without being locked into constant, unnecessary fees and excruciating installation and repair appointments,” said National Hispanic Media Coalition vice president of policy Michael Scurato.

RLJ Entertainment chairman and Black Entertainment Television chairman Robert L. Johnson also came out in support of FCC’s proposal.

Johnson said, “In my opinion, this is the best decision that the FCC has made to increase minority diversity in media content distribution since the Commission championed the tax certificate, which allowed for the increase in minority ownership of media properties. I am also very pleased that after speaking with several Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Caucus has agreed to a meeting to hear my position on this matter.”

“If you have a good program idea, some financing and access to the Internet, you can find your audience. But your audience can only find you if they have a modem or a set-top box or software that lets them know you are there and gives them access to your programs unconstrained by the network gatekeeper,” he added.

However, a coalition of pay-TV provider called Future of TV Coalition comprising the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, American Cable Association, Motion Picture Association of America and others, which has been formed to oppose the ‘AllVid’ proposal, said the proposed regulation will not provide new programming to customers or lower their television bills.

In a statement, the Future of TV Coalition said, “The FCC proposal, as best anyone can understand it, still strips out all the tools that are used to honour license agreements, would increase consumer costs by mandating yet a second box inside the home and thus ignores the trends away from in-home boxes and devices, eliminates security protections and provides no reassurance on privacy rights.”

TV One CEO Alfred Liggins and Future of TV Coalition co-chair added, “The ‘AllVid’ proposal is a brazen money grab by the Big Tech companies that would do severe damage to the programming ecosystem, and in particular, niche and minority-focused networks.”

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/22/i%26b%20ministry.jpg?itok=YdrF9C7w
MIB, DoS nudge TV channel to use Indian satellites

MUMBAI: In what could be interpreted as unease of doing business instead of ease of it, the Indian government is nudging TV channels to deal with Indian entities if they employ the services of foreign satellites. And, till that happens, permissions are being withheld or delayed.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/19/trai1-800x800%20%281%29.jpg?itok=tioUAd8O
TRAI clears path for broadband, voice services aboard planes

Broadband connectivity and making voice calls from 32,000 feet above sea level while flying may soon become a reality over Indian space if broadcast and telecom regulator TRAI’s recommendations are accepted by some other government organisations, including ISRO.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/16/trai-20dec.jpg?itok=Rxqy0Edm
TRAI extends dates for comments on uplinking/downlinking consultation paper

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the deadline for receiving comments on the consultation paper relating to uplinking and downlinking of TV channels. The new dates for receiving comments and counter-comments are 31 January and 10 February respectively.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/12/trai.jpg?itok=tS23FIiv
TRAI invites ICT-based solution providers to upgrade tech

NEW DELHI: With the demand for a wide range of services based on ICT platform involving machine-to-machine and internet of things, etc. increasing, Indian broadcast and telecom regulator TRAI is looking at expanding its technical capabilities and, in this regard, has invited proposals from...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/04/mib.jpg?itok=S-v5ed9U
MIB mandates broadcasters to make applications via Broadcast Seva

MUMBAI: In its latest move to ensure ease of conducting business, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has mandated TV broadcasters to make online applications for a range of submissions.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/03/trai1-800x800%20%281%29_0.jpg?itok=gMY5FTwM
TRAI releases paper on National Telecom Policy 2018

Seeking views from stakeholders on the new telecom policy, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today released a consultation paper on inputs for formulation of the National Telecom Policy 2018.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/03/Trai800.jpg?itok=-KZ9NyUX
TRAI tightens the screws on interconnectivity for telcos

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a mandate to service providers directing them to enter into an interconnection agreement on a “non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving a connectivity request from another mobile operator.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/02/MIB-2-Story.jpg?itok=Hre6LDT0
Cross-media holding: Indian policymakers push for regulations

A section of policymakers in India is not in favour of market forces taking care of monopolistic trends in the increasingly converging print and electronic media. It has recommended government intervention—a thought-process that can have wide-ranging implications on activities of broadcasting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/01/02/trai.jpg?itok=_KZtIu7C
Parliamentary panel pushes for TRAI's empowerment

MUMBAI: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT) wants more regulations for the broadcast industry. Finding the current powers given to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) inadequate, it has recommended that either the scope of its authority...

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories