NCTA responds to FCC 'Ditch the Box' questions with huge data dump

The NCTA has delivered more than 1,000 pages of technical information on its "Ditch the Box" proposal to the FCC after the agency published a series of questions seeking more information about the counter-initiative. 

"So let's be clear," the National Cable Telecommunications Association said, announcing its filing. "What the apps proposal will do is allow consumers to choose to watch their cable service without the need for a set-top box. What it will not and should not do is to permit third parties to ignore copyright law and the decision of content creators as to how their content is packaged and presented to consumers."

While some might see the FCC as attempting to poke holes in the proposal, which counters the agency's "Unlock the Box" proposal to open the pay-TV set-top business to third-party device makers, the NCTA described the FCC inquiry as a positive.

"The good news about this recent interest in the apps proposal is that the Commission appears to be responding to the torrent of criticism unleashed by the NPRM which proposed unbundling pay TV programming and other important elements of MVPD service," said the National Cable Telecommunications Association, announcing its filing. "We are happy to continue engagement with the Commission on this important issue and remain optimistic that we can achieve an outcome that will protect content, privacy and licensing agreements — as Chairman Wheeler has promised Congress on many occasions. But to accomplish this aim, we also ought to be clear about what the apps proposal will do and what it will not do."

Closing out a 33-page response filing that's accompanied by a voluminous file full of technical info, the NCTA said, "The HTML5 apps-based approach is offered only with respect to MVPDs with more than 1 million subscribers. As one retail consumer electronics manufacturer pointed out, a retail market could be readily established without the need to impose a regulatory mandate on smaller operators, and it would be reasonable to establish an exemption for slightly larger MVPDs, as suggested by ITTA. We share the widely expressed view that the Commission should not mandate that the limited resources available to smaller operators be allocated by an FCC mandate to navigation devices." 

For more:
- read this NCTA response

Related articles:
Comcast: We'll ditch set-tops, just not anytime soon
Wheeler: 'Unlock the Box' will exempt small analog cable systems
FCC seeks clarity and detail on 'Ditch the Box'