Obama Presses for Open Market for Cable Set-Top Boxes (New York Times)

set top box icon

This week the Obama Administration announced it would “support for opening the market for cable set-top boxes, singling out the devices in millions of homes as a clunky and outdated symbol of corporate power over consumers,” via The New York Times,

In an unusual step, Mr. Obama weighed in personally on a pending proposal at the Federal Communications Commission, having his administration file comments that applauded the effort to loosen cable companies’ grip on the boxes.

The president, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, said it was an example of the kinds of actions government agencies should take in response to an executive order he signed on Friday calling for administrative action to promote competition and to better protect consumers.

“The cable or satellite box is just one example of an area where, because it’s been tied to the provider and you rent it, and consumers spend billions of dollars on it every single year, there hasn’t been much innovation,” Mr. Obama said, adding that the private sector becomes less effective “if we get closed systems or if people are gaming the system.”

The announcements are the newest moves by Mr. Obama to push back against the forces of consolidation and monopoly, and to shift power away from large corporations in an array of industries.

They are also the latest to place the president squarely on the side of technology companies — some led by executives who have contributed to Mr. Obama’s campaigns, hired his former aides and spoken to him often. Among the supporters of the set-top box proposal are companies like Google, Amazon and Apple, which are eager to establish a broader foothold in the TV market.

Read the full article on The New York Times.


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