FCC Requests Information On How Set-Top Boxes Can Spur Internet Viewing [Multichannel News]
In yet another request for information for it's development of a national broadband plan, the FCC has asked for comments on how television set-top boxes could be used to increase broadband adoption. It's an interesting question and demonstrates the creativity of the various approaches that the Commission is entertaining toward the goal of connecting more Americans to the Internet. In its request for comments, the FCC notes that while only 76 percent of households own computers, over 99 percent have televisions.
While a computer is generally required to connect to the Internet today, the FCC is interested to know whether they can increase Internet adoption if households can use television set-tops and televisions as Internet devices, thus eliminating one barrier to adoption. The FCC is particularly interested in whether current set tops can be configured to be network agnostic set-top, easy to set up, and can be used to access the Internet. The FCC is also looking at the rules that regulate the way set-tops operate as part of this process.
Both consumer groups and the cable industry's trade association have praised the Commission's willingness to look at video set-tops as a potential gateway to the Internet. With the potential to connect nearly every home in America with Internet, I'm looking forward to the outcomes of this process.