I’ve blogged previously on the push by FCC chair Tom Wheeler to compel cable and satellite providers to permit consumers to use third-party set top boxes. Despite opposition from across the political spectrum, Wheeler is sticking to his guns to get the regulations passed before his tenure ends, which will likely be after the next President takes office.
The pay-TV providers are naturally among the leading voices lobbying against the proposed rules, but opposition has come from a number of other sources as well. At least 150 members of Congress,
both Democrat and Republican, have sent letters to the Commission expressing concern that the change would harm copyright owners and increase risks of piracy. The chairman and CEO of BET has asked for assurances that minority programmers would not be adversely affected. Even the National Telecommunications & Information Agency and the FTC, the FCC’s sister agencies, have urged the Commission to take into account all sides of the issue.
Whatever the outcome, this rulemaking is a rare instance of the political process actually working. Competing interests on all sides are promoting their positions in a sincere debate over policy with both business and public interests arrayed on both sides.