FCC cable set-top rules headed for regulatory graveyard

01 February, 2017, 03:29 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Ajit Pai has said it's only a matter of time before he rolls the law back

The FCC's privacy order, adopted a few days before the November election, was one of several late efforts by the Obama administration to rewrite long-standing pillars of Internet governance, many of which flowed from the Commission's controversial decision two years ago to "reclassify" broadband as a public utility subject to thousands of regulations written for the former Bell monopoly in the 1930's.

Opponents of Wheeler's ruling have argued that imposing such regulatory control removes the impetus to further invest in the speed and capacity of the networks. President Trump has yet to announce a Republican nominee to fill Pai's previous position as FCC commissioner.

Pai was also critical of the FCC's broadband privacy framework, but that would be mooted if he can reverse Title II reclassification, since that was what deeded the FCC authority over broadband privacy.

"The BDAC's mission will be to identify regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and to make recommendations to the commission on reducing and/or removing them", Pai said in a statement.

The original proposal was designed to allow third-party manufacturers to create their own set-top TV boxes, which would give consumers an alternative to leasing devices from cable and satellite providers. "This is one of the 23 items that we are reviewing", he said after the FCC's open meeting today, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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In the short term, Pai can take various steps to blunt the Title II instrument, including not aggressively enforcing a general conduct standard he has criticized, and perhaps issuing new guidance on zero rating plans. Then sign up now for Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event on March 21-22, at the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver.

Government rules that would put an end to set-top box rental fees are likely dead.

But soon after, Wheeler's pledge to forbear from interfering in Internet governance, historically been left to engineering groups and other regulators including the Federal Trade Commission, proved ephemeral. Trump helping little guy??

The committee will focus on developing specific recommendations on how the FCC can encourage broadband deployment across America.

The FCC will accept nominations to the BDAC group through February 15, and Pai noted that he is aiming for 15 members from a diverse cross-section of the community, including industry experts, representatives from consumer organizations and more.

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