Google-backed group says 'Ditch the Box' proposal a ploy to delay negotiations with FCC

A trade group backed by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has derided the pay-TV industry's counter-proposal to an FCC plan to open cable, satellite and telco TV set-tops to third-party manufacturers, labeling it a ploy to delay negotiations with the agency.

INCOMPAS also accused the pay-TV industry of making apps-based promises it has reneged on before. 

"It is encouraging to see the cable industry willing to agree to three critical points," said INCOMPAS chief executive Chip Pickering. "First, consumers should be free from rental boxes and have the power to choose their own devices. Second, consumers should have integrated search capabilities so they can find the Internet streaming content they crave. Third, cable induced fears over privacy, copyright, and licensing in an open, competitive device market are false.

On Thursday, the Future of TV Coalition — a grouping of mostly top TV service providers hellbent on stopping the FCC's "Unlock the Box" NPRM — released details on a plan it calls "Ditch the Box." 

That scheme would be centered around open, HTML 5-based apps, released by pay-TV operators, which would work with a range of third-party devices.

"We look forward to continuing the dialogue with the cable industry," Pickering said. "Their current proposal presents both some positive movement and some familiar limitations that could fall short of delivering an open, competitive marketplace."

Specifically, Pickering noted, "the cable industry is proposing competitive choice for streaming devices, but still seeks to retain a controlling grip on DVRs and recordable devices."

"The cable industry has made promises before about ditching the set-top box, that have not materialized," he added. "So it is important for the FCC's unlock the box proposal to include enforceable standards that will create a thriving market for competition, congruent with the law."

For more:
- read this INCOMPAS statement

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