Consumer Action applauds FCC set top box plan

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Statement of Consumer Action on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Expand Consumers’ Video Navigation Choices

February 19, 2016—Consumer Action, a consumer education and advocacy nonprofit organization with a 45-year history of empowering consumers to make informed decisions and assert their rights in the marketplace, applauds the Federal Communication Commission for paving the way to a new competitive framework for accessing video content.

By releasing the vise grip that pay TV providers have on consumers and the equipment they use to watch paid programming, the FCC plan will give consumers new ways to access and enjoy their favorite programs as well as a way out of having to pay monthly rental fees for a set-top box from their pay TV provider.

An open, competitive system should not be viewed as a threat to entrenched interests but as a way for companies to innovate in creating integrated devices that consumers can use to seamlessly watch what they want, when they want—including pay TV content if they so choose. No one but a pay TV provider could oppose a future of easier content navigation and fewer remote controls. Consumer Action agrees with the FCC: The day has come to open pay TV’s locked down, closed system and let the innovation begin.

As consumer advocates, we will be pushing for the strongest privacy, advertiser do not track and copyright protections and trust that the FCC knows that these are lines in the sand that cannot be ignored if the promise of set top box competition and consumer choice is going to be successful.

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Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website ( and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Over 7,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.




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