Wheeler to Talk Set-Tops at 'Consumer Reports'

Chairman to tour headquarters and lab, meet with staffers

WASHINGTON -- FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will be traveling to Yonkers, N.Y., this week to tour the headquarters and lab of Consumer Reports.

The meeting and lab tour have been in the works for a while, according to an FCC source.

Now that the chairman has lifted the sunshine rule prohibitions on communications about the set-top box item, look for that to be a topic of conversation.

Consumer Reports, and its lobbying arm, Consumer's Union, backs Wheeler's proposed apps-based approach to prompting competition in the navigation device market.

Read more about the FCC's set-top proposal.

In fact, they were among 76 groups that fired off a letter to the FCC commissioners this week pushing them to vote on the set-top item, which was pulled from last month's public meeting agenda over some commissioners' concerns -- at least enough to prevent a three-vote majority for the item -- about its impact on copyright, contracts and content.

Look for broadband privacy to come up at the Wheeler visit as well, since it will come before Thursday (Oct. 20), when the sunshine prohibitions kick in for that item, which is scheduled for a vote at the public meeting on Oct. 27. Stakeholders are not allowed to talk with FCC decisionmakers -- and Wheeler is the top one of those -- in the week before a vote on an agenda item.

The letter to the commissioners also called for a vote on the broadband privacy item, which Consumers Union also backs.