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The FCC and the Set-Top Box Rule: A Headscratcher

By / 9.29.2016

The FCC chose to ‘delete‘ (their word) discussion of its “set-top box rule” from today’s meeting. As we wrote two weeks ago, the FCC’s proposed rule appeared to put the commission in the position of rewriting copyright law and setting up a licensing board for apps.  The licensing board for apps is particularly disturbing, because it represents an entirely new layer of regulation on an innovative sector that has produced more than 1.6 million jobs in the US alone.

But we’re left with a headscratcher. The truth is that no one–including members of Congress–really knows at this point what Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC commission are thinking, or how the FCC has modified its plan.  Rather than having to guess, we favor transparency–the FCC should announce its current proposal, and give an opportunity for public comment, meaningful review by Congress, and real economic analysis of the rule’s impact on jobs and innovation.  That’s the right way to move forward.