Skip to main content

App Developers Have Issues With FCC Set-Top Approach

Software developers are warning the FCC against regulatory intervention in the navigation device market.

In a statement Monday, Jake Ward, president of the Application Developers Alliance, responded to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's latest, app-based, variation of his initial "unlock the box" set-top proposal.

Cable operators pushed the FCC to move toward an apps-based approach but were not happy with Wheeler's variation on that theme, which they say creates a government licensing regime for the apps approach that is beyond the FCC's authority.

Software developers share concerns about the FCC's role in the development of their apps.

"Policymakers, whether at the FCC or elsewhere, should make it a priority to engage with developers before implementing rules and regulations that could damage the products and services they create," said Ward. "The FCC should focus on collaborative solutions developed together by all stakeholders, including competitors, pay-TV providers, and the content industry – rather than a purely regulatory intervention – to enable competition and innovation in how consumers consume video programming."

Wheeler has scheduled the set-top proposal for a vote at the Sept. 29 open meeting, but ISPs and programmers are pushing back, including with commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has had issues with the proposal from the beginning. While voting for the rulemaking proposal, she said changes needed to be made and was getting the full court press from Hollywood last week with the message that changes still were needed.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.