AT&T: CCIA 'Compromise' Is Gussied Up FCC NPRM

AT&T has taken aim at the Computer & Communications Industry Association in comments at the FCC, calling CCIA's compromise proposal on set-tops, "a thinly veiled repackaging of the NPRM’s unlawful, unwise, and unworkable unbundling proposal."

CCIA members include Google, Amazon, Dish and Tivo.

The CCIA proposal was billed as a bridge over the divide between the FCC's "unlock the box" proposal and the National Cable & Telecommunications Associations app-based "ditch the box" proposal, but the white paper submitted last week read more like a defense of the FCC proposal, saying the NCTA alternative is " light in detail and heavy with loopholes" and would "box out" competition, while the FCC proposal is a solution that gives consumers "real choice."

The FCC proposal is to require MVPDs to provide their program and data streams to third parties for apps and competitive navigation devices. NCTA has countered with a proposal for an app that third parties could use to display MVPD programming alongside over-the-top programming, but would retain the channel lineup and that includes contractual placements and protections.

AT&T pointed out in its critique of CCIA that while the white paper purports to remedy the copyright and contract issues raised by allowing third party access to MVPD's--like AT&T's U-Verse--disaggregated programming streams and data, CCIA instead explicitly concedes that its proposal would not hold third parties to all contractual requirements. "Because third parties are not parties to and lack access to programmers’ private contracts, there should be no expectation that competitive navigation devices can or should have to follow those restrictions," AT&T says, quoting from the CCIA white paper filing to the FCC.

"CCIA’s filing does nothing more than slap a fresh coat of paint on the NPRM proposal and thus does nothing to solve the countless fatal flaws inherent in that proposal," AT&T concluded.

John Eggerton

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.