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Public Knowledge: Set-Top Box Regulatory Regime "Poorly Constructed"

Public Knowledge took aim at the FCC's set-top box
regulatory regime Thursday (April 29), saying it had failed due to "poorly
constructed rules, undercut by numerous exceptions and waivers."

That came in testimony for a House Communications
Subcommittee hearing on set-top boxes and the FCC's proposal to create a
universal gateway that would unite video from the Web, multichannel providers and
broadcasters. It would also accept input from any cable or satellite

The FCC wants to spur the development of a retail set-top
box market as well as promote broadband adoption via the TV set-there are sets
in 99% of homes, while computers in only 75%-80% of homes.

The Commission has also proposed changes to its CableCARD
rules separating the channel-surfing and security functions of set-tops to
drive a retail market. By all accounts, that effort has not met with success.

Public Knowledge Legal Director Harold Feld said the FCC's
gateway proposal was the best approach to addressing that failure.