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This article was published on April 15, 2016

    Obama officially backs FCC’s new initiative for cable box competition

    Obama officially backs FCC’s new initiative for cable box competition Image by: AFP/Getty Images
    Bryan Clark
    Story by

    Bryan Clark

    Former Managing Editor, TNW

    Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

    In February, the FCC voted in favor of loosening cable’s grip on set-top boxes. Today, President Obama offered a show of support to the initiative that sought to give consumers greater control of how they access their favorite channels.

    The “Unlock the Box” initiative sought to encourage competition and promote innovation by giving consumers choice in what box they’d like to use to access cable television.

    Currently, cable companies are pocketing an average of $231 per household in lease fees each year on boxes that are “required” to access cable television service.

    Under the new plan, consumers could select from a wide variety of third-party options, such as Roku, AppleTV and others, that could offer additional benefits as well as fueling innovation in the space due to increased competition for customers.

    “This will allow for companies to create new, innovative, higher-quality, lower-cost products,” said chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman.

    “Instead of spending nearly $1,000 over four years to lease a set of behind-the-times boxes, American families will have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want in one, easier-to-use gadget.”

    Obama also issued an executive order today giving federal agencies two months to report on other areas where competition could drive innovation — and it’s not limited to cable TV.

    Obama, if you recall was also behind a 2014 law that removed restrictions on carrier swapping for cellphones and he’s been a vocal proponent of net neutrality laws.

    via Engadget