Wheeler to Hill: Quest for Set-Top Vote Continues

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told Congress, or at least one congressman, in late October that he still believed he could find agreement on a set-top box revamp.

That came in an Oct. 21 letter to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).

Wheeler had to pull the set-top item off the September public meeting agenda after failing to secure a Democratic majority for the item, and continues to try and get that majority for the item, which is currently on circulation for a potential vote outside a public meeting.

"I have long felt that consensus is within sight and will continue in this quest," Wheeler told Ellison.

Read more about the FCC's set-top rules proposal.

Wheeler has since signaled that he is hopeful he will get a vote by the end of the year. the chairman has not said when he would leave the commission after the election.

That could depend on whether Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stays on. She has to leave at the end of the year unless she gets confirmed, which would leave the commission with a Republican majority if Wheeler also left.

Rosenworcel has been re-nominated and unanimously endorsed by the Senate Commerce Committee, but her Senate confirmation vote has been held hostage to a  fight between the Senate majority and minority leaders over process, promises and politics, a fight that has spilled over into holding up bipartisan telecom regulation.

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.