Congressional Black Caucus calls FCC's AllVid proposal 'disastrous'

The cable industry has support from the Congressional Black Caucus in its efforts to shoot down the FCC's AllVid integrated security proposal.

"AllVid will cause irreparable harm to independent and minority programmers by allowing third parties to strip programming from visible channel placements and relegate it to the bottom of the pile," said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, writing to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on behalf of the 21 Congressional Black Caucus members. "These merchants would also be allowed to sell intrusive advertising without sharing any revenue with programmers, cutting off the needed revenue to continue producing quality content."

AllVid was one of two proposals rendered by the FCC's Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), which was set up to find a new way to secure set-tops purchased by customers at retail to work in the pay-TV ecosystem.

Led by the National Cable Telecommunications Association, the cable industry has staunchly resisted the scheme, which would place a piece of not-yet-developed decoding hardware somewhere on the operator network, allowing retail set-tops to receive and play back pay-TV signals. 

Clarke's letter points out many of the cable industry's concerns -- that AllVid would require customers to purchase and power additional equipment. 

"And even worse, while requiring consumers to rent more equipment it would eliminate consumer protections concerning privacy, emergency alerts, children's programming and more. Consumers would pay more and be protected less," Clarke said. 

In a press release highlighting Clarke's letter, the Black Caucus said AllVid would be a "disaster for consumers."

AllVid is one of several proposals rendered recently by DSTAC in an effort to spur the market for consumer electronics devices that can work in the pay-TV ecosystem. Pay-TV operators say their TV Everywhere apps have already achieved this goal. But the consumer electronics industry, led by companies including TiVo, said these apps fall short of delivering customers a rich TV navigation experience. 

For more:
- read this release

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