Skip to main content

House Members: DSTAC Shouldn't Try to Revive AllVid

A bipartisan pair of House members has asked the FCC's Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee (DSTAC) to keep to its statutory mandate and not stray into reviving the AllVid proposal for mandating set top standards for passing through video from various sources.

Cable operators have long argued against the AllVid proposal, or what they called a" single guiding regulatory prescription" (

DSTAC was created by the STELAR satellite legislation to come up with a successor to the CableCARD set-top security hardware regime the legislation dispensed with after it failed to promote a competitive marketplace in set-tops to compete with leased boxes.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Gene Green (D-Tex.), suggested that some DSTAC members, as well as members of Wheeler's staff, were trying to steer the effort toward reviving AllVid: “The limited scope of DSTAC and it’s purpose is clear," they wrote, "and the language that defines it has been agreed upon in both the House and the Senate unanimously. Unfortunately, DSTAC has ignored the statutory language in order to resurrect a proposal that has been previously discredited [Allvid]. This is not why Congress directed the FCC to establish this working group, and we urge the Chairman to act to ensure DSTAC does not exceed the bounds of the statute, and to follow the Congressional mandate.”

The AllVid proposal dates from the Julius Genachowski FCC, proposed as a way to promote online video by mandating that cable set-tops essentially become neutral gateways to all video. Cable operators have argued that the regulatory initiative, launched in a notice of inquiry in April 2010, is not only unnecessary but threatens its business model by forced disaggregation of MVPD services. (

The congressmen said the resurrection of the proposal, which the FCC never acted on, would be not only "an enormous distraction," but exceed DSTAC's congressional directive.

The Hill effort follows warnings last month by edge providers Google and Amazon and other AllVid fans that not looking more broadly would be a missed opportunity and result in a "walled garden" approach (

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.