Rep. Clarke to FCC: Publish Set-top Text

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) said Friday that she wanted the FCC to publish the text of the set-top box, suggesting that the further delay of a vote that would entail is needed for input from the GAO.

"This delay will provide an opportunity for the FCC to disclose the draft text of the rule and listen to comments from stakeholders," she said in a statement. "In addition, I am hopeful that the review of the rule by the General Accounting Office that I have requested will allow everyone involved - from members of Congress to television viewers across the United States - to understand the issues involved comprehensively.”

Clarke, who has said she is concerned about the impact of the proposal on diversity and earlier asked the FCC to hit pause on the proposal, also asked the General Accounting Office to review the rules, though that request came before the chairman pivoted toward an apps-based proposal, then tweaked that at least once.

Clarke, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has said there is a role for government in encouraging competition but that there was a risk that if the FCC did not get it right, small and minority programmers could suffer needlessly, and, by extension, consumers. She has pointed to the jobs that could be threatened.

That Clarke call for publishing the text follows FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's decision to pull the item from the planned vote at the Sept. 29 public meeting--he said it was a case of running out of time on the latest iteration.

In a statement Friday (Sept. 29), Clarke said: “There are still many unanswered questions about the proposed set-top box rule, particularly its potential impact on consumers and programming created by women and people of color."

Related: Set-Top Diversity Debate Rages On

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.