The following may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory:
“A visionary might have started a proceeding today to ask how the consumer driven application economy could accelerate placing the set-top box onto the same path to the technology scrap heap as Black & White Televisions, Betamaxes, VCRs, iPods and Razr phones. The focus of that proceeding could have been how to eliminate the set-top box while protecting content creators’ incentives to develop interesting programming, building upon and growing the base of minority programming which exists today, and ensuring that what consumers watch on television remains none of Google’s business. Instead, the FCC launched a proceeding that could cement the set-top box in your home, with little to no minority programming, collecting data on every program you watch to feed Google’s advertising engine.
“As an added bonus, the FCC will have to establish an enormous regulatory infrastructure to create and oversee this new technology mandate that involves the creation of new technology standards and standards bodies.
“Talk about a missed opportunity. While consumers are embracing an apps-based approach that offers a variety of content on more than 450 million devices, the FCC has chosen to go down a path that threatens the very competition and innovation that has led to this vibrant marketplace. Concerns over this proposal have been expressed by both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress and a broad mix of stakeholders, including cable and satellite companies, broadcasters, independent and minority content creators and tech companies. As this proceeding continues, we hope these concerns are given the weight they deserve and the Commission allows consumers and not Google to continue to drive the market.”