Thune to FCC: Don’t Keep FCC Set-top Box Proposal Secret

Urges commission to issue Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

September 30, 2016

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today, in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, urged the FCC to publicly release its revised proposal for new regulation of pay-TV set-top boxes by issuing a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Yesterday, the agency indefinitely postponed consideration of the far-reaching rule, which has not been subject to public scrutiny in its current form.

“Your new proposal is intended to benefit consumers, yet those same consumers are not currently able to read this far-reaching new plan …. For a rulemaking that is expected to take years before it is fully implemented, there is no need or urgency for the Commission to rush behind closed doors to adopt a final order. Sunlight in government proceedings is critical for ensuring outcomes that provide the most benefit possible for the American people.”

In urging the FCC to shine more sunlight on this rulemaking, Thune specifically cited the call by House Democrat, Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), for public review of the new proposal’s text before the Commission votes on it.  Thune’s letter notes that issuing an FNRPM would be the “most transparent, inclusive, and accountable way to do so.”

The Senate Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. As chairman, Thune has cited concerns about the FCC’s lack of transparency and increased partisanship in recent years.

Click here to read Thune’s letter to Wheeler.