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INTX 2016: ACA Says Wheeler Is Marching in Wrong Direction

American Cable Association President Matt Polka says he agrees with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that consumers, in this case ACA members' customers should come first, but signaled it was hard to do that when "saddled" with "needless" or "burdensome" regulation.

Polka was responding to Wheeler's remarks at the closing general session of the INTX show in Boston, where he emphasized that both regulators and regulatees have to prioritize consumers.

“Despite limited capital and modest profits, small and mid-sized providers [Polka's constituency] are investing in innovative video services and solutions in navigation devices for their rural and urban customers."

One of the ways Wheeler has suggested the FCC is putting consumers first is "unlocking" them from rented MVPD set-top boxes.

But Polka said his members were already offering novel new navigation options.

"For example," he said, "many members offer TiVo devices and Moxi gateways that seamlessly integrate their video services with over-the-top services. Just yesterday, ACA member WideOpenWest announced that it is rolling out the eBOX, which is powered by TiVo’s software and user interface."

“Yet, even while these providers are innovating and meeting their customers’ needs, Chairman Wheeler marches in the wrong direction, insisting that we need hard and fixed mandates in a dynamic market that is working to increase choice and reduce price," Polka said.

He urged the chairman to "step back" and look at the bigger picture of benefits his members provide, and at the "significant" harm his proposal would do.