The Future of TV Coalition Letter from Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Letter from Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus   •   Letter to the FCC   •   December 1, 2015   •   Download PDF

December 1, 2015

The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Chairman Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554-0004

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

For years, we have been promised a vision in which technology unleashes TV and delivers consumers more choice, better content and new services that revolutionize the video experience. We’ve heard complaints from consumers about why they need a settop box to watch their favorite programming. And we’ve pressed TV providers and networks to produce and carry the kind of diverse programming that represents all of America and not just the privileged few.

The good news is that it appears that we finally are on the cusp of this new unencumbered television frontier. How do we know? Just listen to leaders like Apple CEO Tim Cook who recently declared “The Future of TV is Apps.” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos echoed those sentiments when he said that in 10 years TV, “will be a series of apps that’s closer to what you see on smart TV.” And when you look at the marketplace, companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku all sell video devices that provide TV programming via apps. The evidence is overwhelming.

That is why we are concerned by reports that the FCC is considering new regulation called All Vid that would jeopardize this progress, raise consumer costs, require consumers to rent another set-top box, threaten diverse programming and erode consumer protections. This would be a disaster for consumers and minority voices.

Instead of allowing innovators and competitors to continue building on the TV app frontier, All Vid would require consumers to add a government-designed settop box, resulting in higher bills and higher energy usage. And even worse, while requiring consumers to rent more equipment it would eliminate consumer protections concerning privacy, emergency alerts, children’s programming and more. Consumers would pay more and be protected less.

All Vid will cause irreparable harm to independent and minority programmers by allowing third parties to strip programming from visible channel placements and relegate it to the bottom of the pile. These merchants would also be allowed to sell intrusive advertising without sharing any revenue with programmers, cutting off the needed revenue to continue producing quality content.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to working with you to ensure that consumer welfare and diversity of voices are not the casualties of an unnecessary tech mandate like All Vid.

See the original article at: Letter to the FCC