Sen. Feinstein to Wheeler: Publish Set-Top Proposal

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has joined a number of both Republicans and Democrats calling on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to publish the text of his latest set-top box proposal before it is voted on.

A Wheeler spokesperson said last week that the chairman did not plan to publish the test -- which is working product that can still be modified and edited before a vote, and sometimes even after -- but did plan to vote on the proposal Sept. 29 as originally scheduled.

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In her letter, Feinstein pointed to the chairman's fact sheet on the new, apps-based variation, saying she supported choice in set-tops, but still had concerns that the proposal would hurt content providers (many of which are headquartered in her state) and the carefully negotiated licensing agreements they have struck with MVPDs.

Wheeler has said the proposal does not insert the FCC into those agreements, but instead oversees them to insure that a new app license for third-party navigation device use of MVPD content is reasonable and not anticompetitive.

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She also cited the Senate Judiciary's role in copyright (she is a member of the committee) and said she had concerns about the FCC proposal encroaching on that jurisdiction, a point that has been raised by other legislators.

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.