Washington (September 29, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed the Set-Top Box Order from the agenda of its September Open Meeting. The Commission had been scheduled to vote on the proposal today that would create a framework that allows consumers to view their pay-TV content on innovative third-party devices of their choosing without having to rent a box from their pay-TV provider.
“Today’s vote delay is an unequivocal loss for the tens of millions of Americans across the country who are forced to spend their hard-earned money on overpriced set-top box leases that cost them hundreds of dollars a year. I am extremely disappointed that the majority of the FCC Commissioners have not yet come to an agreement to provide relief for consumers for these bloated set-top box rental fees and certainty to companies who wish to innovate with new products. I urge the Commission to complete this rulemaking as soon as possible. Consumers have waited for more than two decades for the promise of a robust set-top box marketplace to be fulfilled; they should not have to wait one more billing cycle.”
Last year, Senators Markey and Blumenthal released findings from their investigation of the set-top box market that revealed that consumers have little choice in their pay-TV set-top boxes and that the average household spends nearly $232 annually on set-top box rental fees. The investigation also found that approximately 99 percent of customers rent their set-top box directly from their pay-TV provider and the set-top box rental market may be worth more than $19.5 billion per year.