Wheeler Set-Top Plan Gets White House Shout-Out

Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, took the opportunity of a speech on competition policy in Chicago Friday to endorse FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's new set-top plan.

Furman pointed out that the first action taken under an executive order last April calling on agencies—including the independent FCC agency—to identify "creative" ways to promote competition was to file comments in support of the FCC's original (unlock the box) set-top proposal.

Furman said that the White House was pleased that Wheeler had "actively" listened to stakeholders to "improve the proposal."

"[We] believe that [chairman Wheeler] is charting out a responsible way to address their meaningful concerns while being responsive to Congress's explicit directive to ensure a healthy set-top marketplace."

That shout out comes as House and Senate Democrats, studios, unions, ISPs, and others are calling for a reboot citing concerns about the FCC's authority over a proposed app standards licensing body and the impact on copyrights and contracts.

That includes legislators suggesting the FCC may be subsuming congressional authority by creating a new compulsory license.

Wheeler says that is not the case, though he is still willing to talk about changes. He said this week the item is 90% there, and there are plans to hold discussions next week about getting that other 10%.

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.