NRDC Questions 'Greenness' of FCC Set-Top Proposal

But says FCC can have competition and energy efficiency
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The Natural Resources Defense Council is counseling the FCC not to let its set-top box proposal undermine reductions in set-top box energy use.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, set-top manufacturers and others teamed up back in 2012 to voluntarily reduce set-top related energy costs, with a goal of more than a billion dollars a year in energy savings.

"And just as consumers are moving toward apps instead of boxes to receive content from their cable and satellite company, the FCC proposal could possibly require the introduction of yet another box into consumers’ homes," blogged NRDC senior scientist  Noah Horowitz.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said his proposal is about navigation devices, including apps, and will not necessarily require any additional equipment, as MVPDs have asserted.

Horowitz was not saying the FCC should not try to boost choice in set-tops but said the FCC did not sufficiently account for the energy-use implications for the way it proposed to do so.

"While the goal of the FCC rulemaking to increase competition and to allow consumers to buy their own set-top boxes at retail is a laudable one, the Commission has not considered the energy and environmental consequences when it developed its proposal.

"We urge the FCC to carefully review their proposal from an energy and environmental point of view and for its final rule to allow low energy-consuming, consumer friendly solutions such as the 'boxless' approaches to continue to move forward," said Horowitz, suggesting the FCC can have competition and energy efficiency, too.