T-Mobile Backs FCC on Set-Tops

Count the self-described "uniquely disruptive" T-Mobile among those who have FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's back on set-top boxes.

"T-Mobile supports the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to adopt rules that allow consumers to choose how to access their multichannel video programming," the company said in comments to the FCC.

"In our view, the Commission can promote competition in both the wireless and video markets by fulfilling its obligation...to allow for more consumer choice in video-navigation products than exists today."

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Congress mandated that the FCC promote competition in video navigation devices.

The company said the chairman's plan is a reasonable approach to doing that and said concerns raised throughout the proceeding have been "largely addressed" by revisions to the plan, including allowing MVPDs to control their apps.

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It said that requiring MVPDs to make the apps available on all widely deployed platforms should alleviate concerns that the FCC would be selecting a de facto standard.

“It’s great to see T-Mobile--the Uncarrier--supporting Unlock the Box," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. INCOMPAS is a member of the Consumer Video Choice Coalition, which has been pushing hard for the set-top/video navigation rules.

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“T-Mobile is a competition and disruption success story, and the cable set top box is long overdue for both," said Pickering. "With open standards and integrated search, Tom Wheeler and the FCC’s set-top box proposal has the potential to revolutionize your television, putting more power, choice and control in consumers hands. Unlocking the box will bring more innovation that will have consumers saying goodbye to boxes and multiple remote controls, and hello to a smart phone that controls a smarter TV.”

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.