FCC Requests Input for New Report on State of Competition in Video Markets
After a three-year hiatus, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking to reinvigorate its statutory obligation to report to Congress annually on the state of competition in the video programming marketplace. In a Supplemental Notice of Inquiry (Supplemental NOI) released April 16, the FCC seeks information from programming distributors for the period from June 30, 2007, through June 30, 2009, in a stated effort to ensure that the FCC’s 14th Annual Report to Congress provides a more current “snapshot” of the industry upon which Congress, the FCC and others may rely in rendering future law-making and policy-setting decisions.
The Supplemental NOI buttresses a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) (governing the period June 30, 2006, to June 30, 2007), which was adopted in November 2007, but not released until January 2009. Both are intended to inform the 14th Annual Report to Congress.
By way of background, the FCC historically has collected video marketplace information each year for its statutorily required report to Congress. However, because the previous Commission, under then-Chairman Kevin Martin, failed to collect data or release a report for 2007 or 2008, the FCC decided to incorporate both years into the present year’s data collection in order to “catch up” on its required Congressional reports. FCC Chairman Michael Copps announced the FCC would release this year a single consolidated report to Congress addressing the status of competition in video markets for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Together, the NOI and Supplemental NOI elicit comment on many of the same issues covered in previous annual reports. Topics on which the FCC seeks new information through the Supplemental NOI include:
- Availability of video over the Internet, deployment of ultra-high-speed broadband, and offering tiered high-speed data services at varying speeds and price-points;
- Integration of streaming video into consumer electronics;
- Middleware, tru2way, EBIF, home networking and content protection;
- Targeted advertising and privacy;
- The impact of digital and HD broadcasting;
- The migration of cable programming from analog to digital;
- Competition among bundled (voice, video, data) service offerings;
- PEG offerings by telephone companies;
- Mobile DTV services; and
- The current economy and access to capital.
Significantly, as noted by Commissioner Robert McDowell in his accompanying statement, the Supplemental NOI does not revive questions raised in the NOI concerning the legal implications of the so-called “70/70 test” under Section 612(g) of the Communications Act. According to Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, in releasing the Supplemental NOI, the FCC seeks to reintroduce “much needed integrity” into the regulatory process concerning video providers.
Comments providing information for the period June 30, 2007, through June 23, 2008, are due May 20, 2009, with reply comments due on June 20. Comments for the period June 30, 2008, through June 30, 2009, are due July 29, 2009, with reply comments due Aug. 28.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like our assistance filing comments in the proceedings.