Congressmen question need for new set-top rules

Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns wants to know why the FCC needs to get involved with mandating new set-top boxes that combine TV and the Internet since "the market already seems to be delivering this service without any government assistance."

The Florida Republican, speaking during a hearing of the communications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was joined by another Republican, John Shimkus of Illinois, in trying to push the FCC away from set-tops and onto providing broadband for areas that are lacking.

"It is the consumers that drive demand and business then fills demand," Shimkus said. "Every time we intervene and try to push a service on the public through government, we fail."

The FCC, through its AllVid initiative, is encouraging the development of devices that would enable TVs to do more without a set-top box and would be available at retail, essentially replacing and updating the CableCard.

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