SBA's Office of Advocacy: Exempt Small MVPDs From FCC's Set-Top Rules

The advocacy arm of the Small Business Administration has told the FCC it's concerned that the FCC's proposed new set-top box rules requiring MVPDs to make their set-top content and data available to third parties would be "disproportionately and significantly burdensome" on those small operators.

That is according to a copy of an ex parte letter.

The letter says the FCC did not attempt to quantify the economic impact on smaller entities, and points out that various stakeholders, including tech companies and public interest groups, support an exemption for smaller operators.

The SBA's Office of Advocacy was created to represent small businesses before federal agencies and is not necessarily reflecting the views of that government agency.

But it is definitely reflecting the views of the American Cable Association, whose members are the small operators the SBA is advocating for.

Saying it was "forwarding" the concerns of smaller operators, SBA counseled the FCC to study the impact of the rules and exempt small MVPDs when it votes on a final order.

"The Office of Advocacy represents an important voice for small business stakeholders who are worried about the disproportionate economic impacts on smaller operators, which would be ultimately harmful to consumers," said ACA president Matt Polka. "The Advocacy arm of the SBA joins a growing chorus of U.S. senators and representatives, technology companies, and organizations representing small businesses, public interests, and free market principles - some of which support the proposal - that are concerned about the proposal's unintended consequences on smaller operators."

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.