Verizon to FCC: ‘MVPDs can’t be expected to build apps for an indeterminate number of platforms or devices’

Verizon

Distinguishing its ex parte comments from the rather hyperbolic rhetoric of other pay-TV operators, which seek to outright annihilate the FCC’s revised set-top regulatory proposal, Verizon has weighed in with several practical concerns. 

For one, Verizon has asked that the FCC not mandate that apps be made for an “unreasonable” number of devices and platforms.

“We understand that MVPDs will be required to provide apps to ‘widely deployed’ platforms,” Verizon said in its letter. “Developing customized apps for device platforms can be costly and resource intensive, requiring expert personnel to work closely with device makers to ensure a high quality customer experience. We have every incentive to make our content accessible on popular devices that our customers want to use, but MVPDs cannot be expected to build apps for an indeterminate number of platforms or devices.”

Secondly, in mandating that operator apps have “parity,” the FCC should take into account the technical limitations of third-party devices, Verizon added. 

“For example, in the context of the recording capability that an app would have to support, we expressed concern that a strict parity obligation could prove difficult or problematic, particularly for devices that may lack the necessary storage capacity or protections to secure recorded content. In addition, the FCC should give MVPDs a reasonable period of time to upgrade apps after adding new features to set-top boxes,” Verizon said. 

Verizon’s reasoned ex parte followed what seems to be a fairly high-level meeting with FCC officials earlier this week — representatives for all four FCC Commissioners outside, not including Chairman Tom Wheeler’s office, were in attendance. 

FCC Commissioners are set to vote on Wheeler’s revised proposal next week. 

For more:
- read this Verizon ex parte filing

Related articles:
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Charter, Comcast say FCC's set-top proposal violates ‘sanctity’ of programming agreements
FCC’s Rosenworcel says new set-top proposal ‘has problems,’ Wheeler said changes will be made

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