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TIA Says FCC Set-Top Box Rules will Stifle Innovation; Calls for New Approach to Standards Setting if Rules Move Forward

Arlington, Va. (April 21, 2016) – The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leading association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of high-tech communications networks, today filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing its proposal to update rules regarding video navigation devices, such as cable set-top boxes, used to access content from multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). Among the key points TIA makes are: (1) the FCC’s plan is misguided and will harm innovation; and (2) if the FCC does move forward, it must modify the standards-setting aspect of its plan to reflect best practices.

TIA stated in its filing the FCC is operating with a faulty premise in advancing new rules, and that the navigation device market is meeting the investment, innovation and consumer choice goals identified by the Commission. As a leading technology Standards Development Organization (SDO), TIA noted the standards setting provisions in the rules could lead to device incompatibility, and risk pre-determining which technologies will prevail over time, contrary to widely followed standards making protocols.

In its comments, TIA remarks, “The marketplace is replete with technologies consumers see and those that they do not see – but that provide the connectivity and security to enable new options for delivering MVPD services to consumers.” Its comments go on to say, “The Commission’s proposed rules are thus unnecessary and may deter investment in the innovative technologies consumers want and the broadband fueling those technologies.”

TIA also identifies a number of specific problems in the proposal related to standards-setting. If the FCC does move forward, TIA urges it to make modifications “so that any rules include reasonable goals, sufficient time, lack of a predetermined default standard, and utilize an SDO that abides by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) due process safeguards.”

TIA further comments, “Anointing technologies, including a default solution, well in advance of the completion of the standards process would place the FCC in the position of attempting to predict which technologies would most likely prevail in the marketplace.  Such a backwards approach will hamstring innovation and increase consumer costs.”

Contact

Ashley Simmons, 703-907-7704, asimmons@tiaonline.org

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents manufacturers and suppliers of global communications networks through standards development, policy and advocacy, business opportunities, market intelligence, and events and networking. TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members' products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment, and entertainment. Visit tiaonline.org for more details. TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and is a proud sponsor of ANSI’s Standards Boost Business campaign. Visit www.standardsboostbusiness.org for details.