House Dems: Data Caps, SpectrumCo Key Future of Video Issues

Staff memo differs somewhat from GOP list of topics for hearing
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Not surprisingly, the House Communications Subcommittee
Democratic staffers have a slight different to-do list than their Republican
counterparts. While over-the-top video, retrans rules and Dish's Hopper
ad-skipping DVR are on both lists of key topics that might come up in the June
27 future of video hearing in the subcommittee, Democrats have a couple more on
their list.

According to a copy of the Democrats' memo on the hearing,
data caps are a key issue, as is the sale of spectrum from cable operators to
Verizon.

The Dems simply outline both sides of the issue -- broadband
providers need to manage data usage and the customer experience; broadband
providers are restricting access to online viewing that might substitute for
their traditional programming -- and call it one of the key issues related to
the future of video.

They relate the proposed Verizon-SpectrumCo sale to the
topic by arguing for FiOS as a new competitive presence in the video
marketplace, one that critics of the deal say could be stifled by joint
marketing agreements under which the cable companies will market Verizon
Wireless service and the telco will market their video service and other
offerings.

"Consumer groups and competitors have raised concerns
that these agreements will diminish the incentives for competition between
Verizon and the cable companies, creating numerous potential harms including
higher cable prices for consumers," they say.

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