House Minority Whip urges Wheeler to consider 'Ditch the Box' alternative

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland.) has joined the chorus of Congressional lawmakers asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to step back from his proposal to overhaul the leased pay-TV set-top business.

In a letter to Wheeler, Hoyer urged Wheeler to consider a counter-proposal put forth by the pay-TV industry, "Ditch the Box," which is based on multiscreen apps. 

"Industry has engaged in a constructive way, including their recent 'Ditch the Box' proposal. I believe common ground can be found," Hoyer said.

"I hope you and your staff continue to work towards a solution that will inject some needed competition and innovation in the ecosystem, but without increasing the grave risks of online piracy or eroding consumers' right to privacy," Hoyer added. "In particular, intellectual property must be respected in a practical way. Reasonable accommodations for Americans with disabilities and minority communities must also be accounted for."

Hoyer's letter comes as Wheeler has apparently lost a key constituent on the five-member FCC Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, who in remarks to Congress last week, conceded Wheeler's "Unlock the Box" proposal is "flawed."

Rosenworcel's ongoing fate on the FCC Commission, meanwhile, remains up in the air. With her term having expired at the end of last year, the Democrat's reconfirmation is being leveraged by Congressional Republicans, who want Wheeler to step aside. 

Rosenworcel has been awaiting reconfirmation by the Senate ever since the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved her nomination earlier this year. Congress has adjourned, however, for the next six weeks. 

Related articles:
Comcast: We'll ditch set-tops, just not anytime soon
Wheeler: FCC won't add to retrans regulation
Rosenworcel sides with Pai and O'Rielly, agrees Wheeler set-top proposal is 'flawed'