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Wheeler to Talk Set-Tops at Consumer Reports

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will be traveling to New York this week to the Yonkers headquarters and lab of Consumer Reports.

According to an FCC source, the meeting and lab tour have been in the works for a while.

Now that the chairman has lifted the sunshine rule prohibitions on communications about the set-top box item, look for that to be a topic of conversation.

Consumer Reports, and its lobbying arm Consumers Union, backs Wheeler's unlock-the-box/app approach to prompting competition in the navigation device market.

In fact, they were among 76 groups that fired off a letter to the FCC commissioners this week pushing them to vote on the set-top item, which was pulled from last month's meeting over some commissioners concerns—at least enough to prevent a three-vote majority for the item—over its impact on copyright and contracts and content.

Look for broadband privacy to come up at the Wheeler visit as well, since it will come before Thursday, when the sunshine prohibitions kick in for that item, which is scheduled for a vote at the Oct. 27 meeting. Stakeholders are not allowed to talk with FCC decisionmakers—and Wheeler is the top one of those—in the week before a vote on an agenda item.

The letter to the commissioners also called for a vote on the broadband privacy item, which Consumers Union also backs.