Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 3, 2016 at 6:00 am
By Stacy Fuller, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory
Google has proposed that the FCC impose a new technology mandate on all pay-TV providers (MVPDs) purportedly “to ensure the commercial availability of navigation devices used by consumers to access services from MVPDs.” Based upon press coverage, the FCC seems enamored with that misguided proposal. Instead of just listening to a few favored companies hoping to game the system solely for their own financial advantage, the FCC should take a look around at the abundance of competitive options the market is delivering to consumers today.
In my house alone – and trust me, I am far from tech-savvy – I can access DIRECTV, as well as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other over-the-top (OTT) services on my tablet, computer, mobile phone and TV. I need only one gateway set-top box (STB) in my home that works with all of our televisions (without additional STBs on each set) through an “open standard” called RVU. AT&T U-verse and other pay-TV and OTT services are available on the Xbox. I didn’t even mention Roku, Google Chromecast, Kindle Fire and Apple TV – there are more than 450 million retail devices and counting in use that can receive pay-TV and OTT services. More than that, virtually every content provider on the planet has an app to provide consumers with access to its content. The video “app” model has enabled consumer choice without any need for government or regulatory mandates. Indeed, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the future of TV is apps.” (Emphasis added)
As the market for video has become even more competitive, consumers have more choices than ever to watch what they want, when they want it and on the device of their choosing anywhere they happen to be. Apps have enabled such competition by enabling content companies to directly reach their consumers. Apps have enabled smart phone, television, tablet, computer and game console manufacturers to provide their distinct user interfaces, features and functionality. At the same time, apps respect the ability of Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, PlayStation Vue and many others to compete through their own user interfaces, features, and functionalities when a consumer chooses their app.