Cable Set-Top Box Alternative Delayed as FCC Vote Canceled

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Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, speaks at INTX: The Internet & Television Expo in Chicago last year.
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, speaks at INTX: The Internet & Television Expo in Chicago last year. Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
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A plan to give consumers alternatives to renting a set-top box from their cable TV providers faltered as the Federal Communications Commission canceled a scheduled vote.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler removed the proposal from the agency's monthly meeting agenda on Thursday, saying technical and legal details were still being worked out.

The plan backed by the White House aimed to clear the way for cheaper devices to serve as in-home gateways to video programming. It drew opposition from the pay-TV industry and skepticism from a fellow Democrat on the commission, Jessica Rosenworcel.

Ms. Rosenworcel had said she thought the agency lacked authority to adopt his proposal. Mr. Wheeler needed her vote, as well as the support of the third Democrat on the five-member agency, as both Republicans oppose the measure.

Mr. Wheeler, Ms. Rosenworcel and the commission's third Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, issued a statement Thursday saying that they are still "working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country."

-- Bloomberg News

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