Tell the FCC to Protect Set-Top Box Competition

Earlier this year, Congress did exactly what we feared - passed a bill including a provision that we have been fighting against for months. The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) passed with a special interest provision straight from the cable industry that could drive up cable bill prices, reduce consumer choice, and hurt innovation across the TV industry.

Now, devices like TiVo could be prevented from developing and competing in the video device marketplace. The rules previously in place ensured that all cable services and features remained available to consumers who chose to buy a third-party set-top box instead of rent a set-top box from their cable provider.

Dedicated members of Congress and public interest groups spoke out, and as a result, Chairman Wheeler released a letter today stating that the Federal Communications Commission will commit to replacing the system removed by Congress, in an effort to ensure set-top box competition. Learn more below, and include your signature on our petition to encourage the FCC to move forward with an improved standard for the cable industry.*

 Dear Chairman Wheeler,

We applaud your commitment to a workable industry-wide set-top box standard today. Over the past several months, Public Knowledge has supported Senator Markey in his efforts to strip the satellite reauthorization bill of unnecessary and harmful language and replace it with language that would have preserved consumer protections and enhanced the ability of consumers to choose what and how they watch programming in the digital era.

Unfortunately, the Congress persisted in allowing special interest legislation to be attached to the satellite bill.  At the expense of the consumers it purports to protect, the law now endorses cable industry practices that threaten to drive up cable prices, as well as expands the dominance of cable companies over the devices consumers need to connect to their video and broadband services.  

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to promote a competitive market in set-top boxes. The Commission’s affirmative move forward on vital consumer protection standards in the set-top box industry has great potential to improve upon the law, updating practices to keep pace with a dynamic digital marketplace where proliferation of new content and technologies have already made consumer choice the law of the land. 

We encourage the FCC to take action quickly on this in order to give consumers more choices and lower price options for set-top boxes and related devices consumers need for connecting to their service.

Petition signatures will be submitted to the public docket at the FCC. Your name, city, state, and zip code are required by the FCC for submission. We will not share this information with anyone else.

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1,200 signatures

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Showing 1213 reactions

  • signed 2016-08-04 15:53:26 -0400
  • signed 2016-07-04 19:20:14 -0400
  • signed 2016-07-04 19:18:49 -0400
    George McCormick
  • signed 2016-06-12 16:58:42 -0400
    It seems thar the cable and satellite providers — like other publicly subsidized utilities — have lost interest in providing their share of the public Commons, in favor of revenue, profits and political influence.

    To me, it looks like the railroads, 100 years ago. Have we learned nothing from history? Will you allow these wealthy individuals to acquire even more power and influence – by reinforcing their mistaken idea that they own the infrastructure built by our tax dollars? While these operators enjoy reduced taxes?

    Cable providers are responsible for Internet access and telephone services, in addition to television. Their set top boxes are primitive and overpriced. Please protect innovation instead of accumulated wealth.
  • signed 2015-11-11 13:17:28 -0500
  • posted about this on Facebook 2015-10-10 09:21:30 -0400
    Sign the petition: Tell the FCC to Protect Set-Top Box Competition
  • signed 2015-10-10 09:21:05 -0400
  • signed 2015-10-02 10:54:31 -0400
    “Decades ago we ended the practice of forcing customers to lease a black rotary dial phone from Ma Bell,” said Chip Pickering, chief executive officer of the Comptel trade group with members including Inc. and Netflix, which favors more competition. "The archaic practice of forced leasing a set-top box from the cable company is a holdover from a bygone era. It’s time to do the same with TV. Already there was a standard called CableCARD that the pay TV providers were required to support but used loopholes in the law to make it cumbersome for anyone to use CableCARD. Congress has now passed a law to unfortunately take away consumer choice. We need a new interoperable standard that this time includes satellite TV providers too.


    The cable industry, already reeling from the loss of subscribers to “cord cutters” who get their video over the Internet, is fighting the move. It makes an estimated $19.5 billion a year renting the boxes and mines them for valuable data on viewing habits. Yet competition and consumer choice should come first. Some have suggested replacing CableCARD with a new format called AllVID whatever the new format is called though it must be open and interoperable.
  • signed 2015-07-10 00:53:06 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-21 11:16:29 -0400
    Current cable TV company monopolies need better oversight and scrutiny, and not more legislation that denies consumers fair market competition!
  • signed 2015-03-20 08:58:35 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-19 17:00:16 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-19 14:57:56 -0400
    stop taxing cable AND MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE
  • signed 2015-03-19 13:30:01 -0400
  • followed this page 2015-03-14 14:35:19 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-13 18:20:05 -0400
    Militarization of local police departments circumvents the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Is Hillary Clinton entitled to more privacy regarding e-mail than the rest of America?
  • @ProTechSecInc tweeted link to this page. 2015-03-12 21:39:10 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-12 21:38:16 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-11 15:09:23 -0400
  • signed 2015-03-03 15:40:32 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-24 12:01:41 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-22 05:51:30 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-19 18:50:41 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-14 23:54:18 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-12 05:08:43 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-08 12:48:14 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-05 07:08:26 -0500
    Por que una compania de California esta recoltando infomacion o no se que hace creo que pudira no permitir defender mi trabajo o no dejar que me roben y perder hasta la vision tantas horas hasta classe cojere con gov.loop tratando de a comodarme al sistena sin hacer dano a nadie pero no permitir que hasta lo email sin inpotancia sea manipulados y leidos por peresosa sin autorizacionsi el gobierno necesita spiar por seguridad nacional eso se acepta,la enpreza telefonica no debe peremitir clones de telefonos,Ej. el 24 agoto hay hay qerella por robo identidad pero eso no fue en es fecha eso fue mas o meno hace 3 ano y aparece 2014 poria ser mi numero pero no la misma perezona ya que nuca e podido tener control de numero de appel y usar toda mi infomacion y usando mi propi email, ya me estoy poniendo Viejo para in ventar y nose si esta I:p10.0.0.138 es bueno o malo solo ustdes pueden saber pero la bacteria de mi telefono se agota rapido.Muchas Gracias por ptemitirme expresar,y diculpas por lenguaje fuerte cuando y coraje o sacan a uno por techo,si alguna vez vuelvo acomunicarme prometo ser mucho mas educado
  • signed 2015-02-04 20:10:32 -0500
  • signed 2015-02-04 16:27:52 -0500
    I am canceling my cable and internet service simply because there is no other option within my neoghborhood to choose from. The fees for this beyond reasonable and to have these services limited for content which I am paying to use is rediculous. I support this petition whole heartedly because I feel this injustice in my actual life.
  • signed 2015-02-04 14:39:48 -0500