Federal Communications Commission fcc 16-18 Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D

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Federal Communications Commission FCC 16-18

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
Expanding Consumers’ Video Navigation Choices
Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices






MB Docket No. 16-42

CS Docket No. 97-80

Adopted: February 18, 2016 Released: February 18, 2016
Comment Date: [30 days after date of publication in the Federal Register]

Reply Comment Date: [60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register]
By the Commission:  Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, and Rosenworcel, issuing separate statements; Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissenting and issuing separate statements.

Table of Contents

Heading Paragraph #



III. Notice of proposed rulemaking 11

A. Introduction 11

B. The Need for Rules 13

C. Authority 21

D. Proposals 25

1. Non-Security Elements: Service Discovery, Entitlement, and Content Delivery 35

2. Proposal Regarding Security Elements 50

3. Parity 63

4. Licensing and Certification 70

a. Compliance and Robustness 71

b. Protection of MVPD Networks from Harm and Theft 72

c. Consumer Protection 73

d. Licensing Alternatives 79

E. Small MVPDs 81

F. Billing Transparency 82

G. CableCARD Support and Reporting 87

IV. Memorandum Opinion and Order 92



APPENDIX A – Proposed rules

APPENDIX B – Final Rules

APPENDIX C – Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis


  1. In this proceeding, we propose rules that will both empower consumers to choose how they wish to access the multichannel video programming to which they subscribe, and promote innovation in the display, selection, and use of this programming and of other video programming available to consumers. We take steps to fulfill our obligation under Section 629 of the Communications Act to assure a commercial market for devices that can access multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems.1 In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we propose rules intended to allow consumer electronics manufacturers, innovators, and other developers to build devices or software solutions that can navigate the universe of multichannel video programming with a competitive user interface. We also seek comment on outstanding issues related to our CableCARD rules. In the Memorandum Opinion and Order, consistent with our obligation under Section 106 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELAR”),2 we remove the “integration ban” from our rules.3

  2. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we:

  • Tentatively conclude that the Commission should adopt new rules to further the goals of Section 629;

  • Propose to require multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) to offer three flows of information using any published, transparent format that conforms to specifications set by open standards bodies. These information flows will allow manufacturers, retailers, and other companies that are not affiliated with an MVPD to design and build competitive navigation devices4;

    • The three information flows include (1) service discovery (information about what programming is available to the consumer, such as the channel listing and video-on-demand lineup, and what is on those channels), (2) entitlements (information about what a device is allowed to do with content, such as record it), and (3) content delivery (the video programming itself, along with information necessary to make the programming accessible to persons with disabilities).

    • Under this proposal, MVPDs could use different standards for their own equipment and applications, so as not to impede the evolution of MVPD devices and apps.

  • Propose to require each MVPD to support at least one content protection system to protect its multichannel video programming that is licensable on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms by an organization that is not affiliated with MVPDs;

  • Propose to require each MVPD that offers its own application on unaffiliated devices without the need for MVPD-specific equipment to also offer the three information flows to unaffiliated applications without the need for MVPD-specific equipment;

  • Seek comment on ways to address any licensing and consumer protection issues by:

    • Proposing to require MVPDs to provide the information flows only to unaffiliated navigation devices that honor copying and recording limits via licenses with content protection system vendors;

    • Proposing to ensure that public interest requirements involving emergency alerts, consumer privacy, and children’s programming advertising limits continue to be met by requiring that MVPDs enable the three information flows only for devices that certify compliance with these public interest requirements; and

    • Proposing to leave licensing terms such as channel placement and treatment of advertising to marketplace forces, just as we did during the CableCARD regime.

  • Propose to exempt from these proposed rules all cable operators that provide only analog services;

  • Seek comment on how best to align our rules on device billing and subsidies with the text of the Act, the current state of the marketplace, and our goal of facilitating a competitive marketplace for navigation devices; and

  • Seek comment on whether the rules the Commission adopted in a 2010 Report and Order to improve support for consumer-owned CableCARD devices5 have continued relevance and should remain valid and enforceable, and, if so, whether to discontinue a requirement that the six largest cable operators report to the Commission about their support for CableCARD.

  1. In the Memorandum Opinion and Order, we remove from our rules the “second sentence of section 76.1204(a)(1) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations,” that is, the integration ban, as required by Section 106(b) of STELAR.6

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