Wheeler Hears More From Hill on Set-Tops

Sixty legislators say push pause button on proceeding
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Get complete coverage of the FCC set-top proposal.

A bipartisan, but heavily Republican, group of legislators have added their names to the rolls of those not happy with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's set-top box proposal.

In a letter to Wheeler, 60 members of Congress (52 Republicans, 8 Democrats) said that the proposal to require MVPDs to make programming and content streams available for third party navigation devices and apps will "jeopardize the incredible evolution of video distribution services enabled by generally reasonable regulation."

They said there were few benefits and many costs to the proposal, the latter including a technical mandate that would inject to uncertainty into the marketplace.

They signaled they knew where he was coming from, and where he wanted to go, but couldn't get there with this particular regulatory vehicle.

"We acknowledge your efforts to support a competitive environment for video competition," they said, "but see few if any benefits to the public at large."

As have others before them, they urged the FCC to "press pause" on the proceeding and reconsider it, including its impact on small businesses and consumers.

The American Cable Association, which has argued the proposal would disproportionately hurt its smaller and midsized MVPD members, applauded the effort.

"ACA thanks all of those Members of Congress who understand and support our concerns about how the FCC's set-top box mandates would impact small pay-TV providers," ACA president Matt Polka said. "They recognize the important services small providers offer to their consumers, and they are concerned this proposal would not only harm these providers and their customers, but would also reverse the progress they have made in this increasingly competitive environment."

The ACA has asked the FCC not to apply the set-top regs to smaller operators.

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