NCTA Logo

The National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) seems to be confused by their own position.

Recently, the FCC decided to look into the absurd lack of choices that customers have when it comes to set-top boxes. As Bloomberg points out, 99% of cable and satellite TV customers rent their set-top boxes directly from the companies. This allows the TV companies to bring in close to $20 billion yearly in new fees.

ArsTechnicaSetTopBoxRentalFees
Ars Technica Story on box fees

It therefore shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that the NCTA, who is paid by the TV companies, came out in defense of these added fees.

“Do we want the federal government engineering a new TV device for consumers when the marketplace is clearly working?” said Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association trade group. “The market is working without government intervention.” – Bloomberg

Essentially, they want the government to STAY OUT OF THEIR LIVES. Nevermind that there is no actual marketplace and that every single consumer hates this over-priced and under-performing set-top box market that the NCTA enjoys.

But, wait a minute…..isn’t the NCTA the same groups that begs the FCC to get involved on many other occasions?

  • Just last week, the NCTA, in a filing to the FCC, asked the government agency to remove a mandate requiring cable companies to include broadcast channels in their basic programming tiers.
  • In 2014, the NCTA repeatedly asked the FCC to remove rules banning set-top devices due to the the large number of CableCARDs that they have issued to TiVO customers. This comes after the NCTA in 2006 asked the FCC to exempt certain set-top boxes from the ban AND wanted the FCC to push back deadlines for when the ban was going into effect.
  • Several months ago, the NCTA “continued” to ask the FCC to come up with new rules that would require DBS  providers (i.e. Satellite TV companies like DirecTV) to pay their “fair share of regulatory fees.”
  • In 2012, before a new law was going into effect that regulated the level of TV audio content, the NCTA pleaded with the FCC to limit the new rule “only to commercial spots” since asking TV providers to limit all audio was “too great burden on television operators.”
  • In 2007, the NCTA asked the FCC to allow cable companies to participate in the upcoming auction of broadcast-television spectrum.
  • The list goes on and on.

Understand that I agree with the NCTA on some of these requests. But, for a group that can’t stand “government intervention”, they sure do love begging for that same intervention when it helps them.