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Reid airs concerns over FCC cable box plan

Reid airs concerns over FCC cable box plan
© Cameron Lancaster

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE (D-Nev.) is voicing concerns with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to open up the market for set-top boxes.

Reid outlined his worries in a letter sent earlier this month but first reported publicly on Tuesday.

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“I am concerned that your proposal does not contain mechanisms to ensure that third-party set-top box providers will be required to adequately protect programming content or consumer privacy,” he said in his June 14 letter to Wheeler.

“As you continue to pursue greater competition in the set-top box marketplace, I ask you to closely review the impact of this proposal on all affected parties and resolve these issues as you move forward."

He also expressed worries about the privacy implications of allowing third-party manufacturers to make the boxes that deliver live video service.

With Reid’s letter, the leaders of both parties in the Senate have now expressed worries about the plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhen it comes to Georgia's voting law, keep politics out of business Pelosi to offer even split on 9/11-style commission to probe Capitol riot Senate GOP crafts outlines for infrastructure counter proposal MORE (R-Ky.) wrote a letter to Wheeler this month saying that it was unnecessary for the FCC to involve itself in an area where there is already innovation.

The FCC proposal would require video providers like Comcast to open up their video feeds to companies that wished to make set-top boxes. Wheeler argues the plan would protect copyright holders and not have an adverse on some programmers, as opponents suggest.

Industry representatives recently proposed an alternative plan they say would achieve many of the same objectives without inflicting the harms they promise will come if the chairman’s plan is enacted. It would not, however, open up the market in the same way.