House subcommittee to hold hearing on broadband plan, Internet 'gateway' devices

Using set-top box devices as an entry point to the Internet is one of the major recommendations in the FCC's broadband plan, designed to help consumers utilize the technology already in most living rooms--a TV set--to access the internet. The lack of a computer is cited as one of the primary barriers to adopting broadband. And the FCC says there hasn't been enough innovation in the set-top box market.

Of course, set-top box manufacturers and cable companies that use them most beg to differ. They say most consumers don't buy these devices at retail, opting instead to rent them from cable and satellite companies.

A large portion of new TV sets on the market already have built-in Internet capabilities. The FCC wants to make sure that more consumers, even those with old model TVs, can still use them to tap into the Web.

Subcommittee members and staff are invited to attend a briefing April 14 at 2 p.m., according to a notice obtained by Hillicon Valley.

The hearing will be held April 15 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2322.