The FCC has been asked to take up the issue of cable set-top boxes and the right of customers to use equipment other than what is provided by the cable company. This is a big deal. Currently the cable companies all but require customers to rent cable boxes from them for an average of US$230 a year. Although this is a cash cow for the cable companies it is not in the best interests of customers to be tethered, for no practical reason, to their own products.
In 1968, in an historic decision, the FCC allowed a customers to connect non-AT&T provided equipment to the network provided it didn’t harm the network. Sound familiar?
The unleashing of innovation in the telecom industry continues to this day, and the Carterfone decision was the first ‘chink in the armor’ of AT&T’s monopoly control of the end-to-end infrastructure. Now the FCC wants to start the wave of innovation in cable set-top boxes.
Predictably the cable companies are fearful of losing this ‘rent seeking’ form of control in our homes. They are using the same arguments AT&T used to keep its monopoly control over telecom 48 years ago. Do these people think we don’t read or remember?
Let the FCC know you want innovation to continue.