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NCTA: Broadband Video Migration Needs No FCC Push

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association suggests that the free market forces behind video's move to broadband have outpaced the FCC's attempt to put its shoulder to that wheel.

NCTA says video is already moving online without the government having to step in and mandate a technological path via its AllVid inquiry. The FCC has been looking to put out a rulemaking proposal in the first quarter.

The FCC is looking to create a gateway device that weds over-the-air, over-the-wire and over-the-top video as a way to drive broadband adoption, for one thing, but it could also potentially be used to disaggregate content and threaten the business model of those, like cable operators, whose business is to aggregate and deliver content.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Wednesday, NCTA President Kyle McSlarrow reiterated that the marketplace is where that box should evolve, rather than from a government technology mandate that could jeopardize a system already meeting consumer demand.

"The fact that tens of millions of tablets, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs, and other smart, video-capable devices have been sold and will be sold means that the Commission no longer needs to ‘create' a retail market for navigation devices," said NCAT President McSlarrow in a letter to the commission. "Instead, the Commission should focus on ‘keeping the runway clear' of impediments and unnecessary rules that could slow these exciting developments."

During the FCC's Tuesday open meeting on establishing LTE as the standard for interoperable broadband emergency communications network, the chairman said that adopting common technology interfaces was the exception rather than the rule at the FCC. "The FCC is not in the business of picking technology platforms and standards," he said. McSlarrow is suggesting the commission stick with that rule in this case.

The FCC solicited comment in the notice last April. It is looking to come up with a gateway device by the end of 2012. The commission sees it as a successor to the CableCARD regime, which it is simultaneously trying to preserve in the interim.