(credit: AT&T)

The Federal Communications Commission chairman dismissed concerns from AT&T and other pay-TV providers about new set-top box rules, saying that the companies shouldn’t fear a little competition.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would force pay-TV providers to make video programming available to the makers of third-party devices and software, saying he wants customers to have more alternatives to set-top boxes rented from cable companies. A vote is scheduled for next week, and TV providers are furious.
Wheeler doesn’t mind, though. “The big kick I get is that AT&T and the cable companies have been putting out statements say, ‘This is going to thwart innovation,’” Wheeler said in an interview with Variety. “And I scratch my head and say, ‘My goodness, let’s see. When was the last time that competition thwarted innovation rather than spurring innovation?’ And you are telling me that a locked-down, closed system will have more impetus to be innovative than a competitive, open system? I think that history shows that it is exactly the opposite of what happens in reality.”
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