MMTC Says FCC Should Pause Set-Top Rulemaking

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) joined with 16 other groups to urge the FCC to consider the possible unintended consequences on diverse/independent programmers of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to open up set-top box data to third party navigation devices.

They want the FCC to "pause" the initiative--the chairman is planning a Feb. 18 vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking--and "further explore" its diversity concerns.

They saw it as the FCC breaking up minority programming nets and repacking them without regard to licensing, distribution and promotion. They are also concerned that edge providers would not be subject to the same privacy regs as MVPDs, that consumers would foot the bill of re-engineered networks to accommodate the third parties, and that the proposal rewards Silicon Valley companies, like Google or app developers, they say have stunning records on minority hiring and supplier diversity.

By contrast, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the first African American woman FCC chair, signaled this week that access to diverse programming was one of the upsides of opening up the boxes.

Among the other groups signing on were Rainbow PUSH, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and the LGBT Technology Partnership.

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.