House Dems: Data Caps, SpectrumCo Are Key 'Future of Video' Issues

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Washington -- Not surprisingly, Democratic staffers with the
House Communications Subcommittee have a slightly different to-do list for June
27's hearing on the future of video than their counterparts in the Republican
majority.

While over-the-top video, retransmission-consent rules and
Dish Network's Hopper ad-skipping digital video recorder are on both Democrats'
and Republicans' lists of key topics that might come up during the hearing, the
minority party has a few more items in its lists.

Data caps and Verizon Wireless' purchase of advanced
wireless spectrum from a consortium of major cable operators are also key
issues, according to a copy of the Democrats' memo on the hearing.

The Democrats simply outline both sides of the data-cap
issue -- broadband providers need to manage data usage and the customer
experience, but they are are restricting access to online viewing that might
substitute for their traditional programming -- and call it one of the key
issues related to the future of video.

While the memo views Verizon's FiOS product as a new
competitive presence in the video marketplace, it notes a concern raised by
critics of the spectrum deal. Those critics say the deal's joint marketing
agreements -- through which Verizon Wireless and SpectrumCo consortium members
agree to sell each other's services -- will reduce competition.

"Consumer groups and competitors have raised concerns
that these agreements will diminish the incentives for competition between
Verizon and the cable companies, creating numerous potential harms, including
higher cable prices for consumers," they said.

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