Washington, DC – The Consumer Video Choice Coalition has filed reply comments with the FCC urging the commission to end the cable set-top box monopoly and unleash innovation and lower prices.
The CVCC filing provides substantive and technical detail, while addressing misleading arguments on copyright, privacy, advertising and other issues raised by the cable industry seeking to protect monopoly profits and harm consumers.
The Consumer Video Choice Coalition is a collection of consumer advocates, small device manufacturers, content creators, technology innovators and competitive trade associations.
The following is from the CVCC reply comment filing:
“Ending the set top box monopoly in favor of unleashing competition, choice and lower prices is an economic imperative that can no longer be delayed. Over 100,000 consumers, editorial boards around the nation, the White House, device manufacturers, content creators and independent programmers have called for ending an illegal, broken system that punishes consumers. The cable set top box monopoly costs consumers $231 dollars a year, stifles innovation and blocks new Internet streaming content. The FCC has the power to end it with free market competition, and they should.
“The reply comments from the Consumer Video Choice Coalition offer a substantive and technical guide for the FCC to follow in order to bring about the competitive market envisioned by the bipartisan Telecommunications Act of 1996, which made competition the law of the land. The reply comments also offer detailed rebuttals to misleading arguments raised by large cable companies, the programmers they own and the trade associations they control.
“Following the Comcast/NBCUniversal megamerger, the old lines that separated large cable companies and large Hollywood studios have blurred into meaninglessness. Comcast’s commanding presence in the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America helps put into context the misleading and bogus copyright and piracy claims raised by the cable giant. Comcast wants to preserve the cable industries nearly $20 billion in profits reaped from consumers annually by forcing them to rent a cable box.
“Comcast is not totally alone; another spawn of a monster merger, AT&T/Direct TV, has joined them in attempting to muddy the waters with misinformation and overheated arguments.
“The opposing sides in this debate could not be more clear. Those seeking to protect their monopoly with rent-a-boxes and closed apps hope to hold onto the past, block and control Internet content, and keep prices skyrocketing as they have for the past two decades.
“Those seeking to unlock the box want to replicate the open, interoperable standard that has brought lower prices and unleashed innovation in device markets for computers, TV’s, apps and smart phones, where the same copyright and privacy protections exist and prices have fallen 90 percent over the past two decades.
“The Wall Street Journal reported 84 percent of customers believe cable prices are too high, rising 39 percent in the past five years to an average of almost $100 per month. The cost of a rent-a-box has risen a shocking 185 percent since 1995. In addition, 69 percent said they want competition to bring the prices down.
“The FCC has the power to end the long consumer nightmare, unlock the box and set innovation free.”