FCC


'FCC' Articles

New York Attorney General Leads Filing of Multi-State Lawsuit to Block Rollback of Net Neutrality

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this afternoon announced that he and 22 other Attorneys General have teamed up to file a lawsuit aiming to stop the Federal Communications Commission's planned rollback of net neutrality. The multi-state lawsuit [PDF] asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the FCC's repeal order, calling it arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion that violates federal law. "An open internet - and the free exchange of ideas it allows - is critical to our democratic process," Schneiderman said in a statement on his website. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers - allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet." The FCC has not filed its new rules with the Federal Register, so the repeal is not yet final, but the lawsuit has been filed out of "an abundance of caution" and to "preserve the right to be included in the judicial lottery procedure." It's essentially the states' way of establishing the first step towards a full challenge of the FCC's decision. #BREAKING: I’m leading 22 AGs and filing suit today to stop the @FCC’s illegal rollback of #netneutrality. We can’t stand by and watch one of the greatest tools for democracy ever created be turned into a private playground for the rich and powerful. https://t.co/BUXSVVVMcs pic.twitter.com/xDTbE1uIrM— Eric Schneiderman

FCC Has Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission today voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules put in place by the United States government back in 2015 under the Obama administration (via Recode). Instead of classifying internet service providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, the FCC has voted 3-2 in favor of rolling back to reclassifying ISPs as "information service" providers, as they were between February 1996 and February 2015. Now, companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon will be allowed to block or slow down a user's access to certain websites, as well as potentially charge access to sites and services. The vote passed in favor under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, along with the two other Republican commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Brendan Carr. Outvoted were Democrat commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. The order now adopted by the FCC today will eliminate a "utility-style regulation" of ISPs, and also removes any requirement for these companies to refrain from blocking or throttling web traffic. One requirement remaining is that telecom companies will be forced to tell customers if and when they prioritize their content over competitors, and if they don't they could face penalties from the Federal Trade Commission. Apple and many other large technology companies previously urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. Those in favor of keeping ISPs classified under Title II argued that the FCC rolling back the internet's classification as a public utility will hurt net neutrality, as it could eventually divide

FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in Vote Next Month

FCC chairman Ajit Pai today announced that his controversial Restoring Internet Freedom order is headed to vote on December 14. The order, proposed in May, would roll back the Barack Obama administration's classification of internet service providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. As common carriers, internet providers are required to act as neutral gateways to the internet. In other words, companies like Comcast are not allowed to speed up or slow down content passing through their networks. If the order passes, ISPs will be reclassified as "information service" providers, as they were between February 1996 and February 2015.For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.Apple and dozens of other large technology companies urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. The FCC also received a record-breaking 22 million comments from the public during a feedback period that ended in August. Those against the order believe that the FCC rolling back the internet's classification as a public utility will hurt net neutrality, as it could eventually divide internet users into so-called "fast lanes" and "slow lanes." In a letter submitted to the FCC in August, Apple warned that paid fast lanes could result in an "internet with

FCC Urges Apple to Protect Safety of Americans by Activating FM Radio Chip in iPhones [Updated]

Amidst renewed pressure from the National Association of Broadcasters, FCC chairman Ajit Pai has now issued a statement urging Apple to activate the FM radio capabilities built into the wireless modem of every iPhone. Pai said he hopes Apple will "reconsider its position" following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which have devastated parts of the United States, including Florida and Texas, and Caribbean islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and Puerto Rico. Powerful storms can leave thousands or millions of people without power or cellular service for weeks or even months, and over-the-air FM radio can provide vital access to weather alerts and other life-saving information. Pai added that "it is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first." His full statement:In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States. And I've specifically pointed out the public safety benefits of doing so. In fact, in my first public speech after I became Chairman, I observed that ‘[y]ou could make a case for activating chips on public safety groundsalone.’ When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information. I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones. Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will

Apple Urges FCC Not to Roll Back Ban on Internet 'Fast Lanes' in Push for Net Neutrality

In a letter submitted during the Restoring Internet Freedom comment period, Apple has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission not to roll back regulations that prevent "paid fast lanes" on the internet. Image via Change.org. Apple logo added by MacRumors. Broadband providers should not create paid fast lanes on the internet. Lifting the current ban on paid prioritization arrangements could allow broadband providers to favor the transmission of one provider's content or services (or the broadband provider’s own online content or services) over other online content, fundamentally altering the internet as we know it today—to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.Apple warns that paid fast lanes could result in an "internet with distorted competition" based on an online provider's ability or willingness to pay, which in turn could put some customers in the "slow lane."Consumers today seek out the content and services they desire based upon numerous factors, including quality, innovation, ease of use, and privacy considerations. Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers' ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service. Moreover, it could create artificial barriers to entry for new online services, making it harder for tomorrow’s

Apple Granted License to Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology

The FCC has granted Apple a license to test next-generation 5G wireless technologies, as brought to our attention by DSLReports. In May, Apple submitted an application for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but they are limited by line of sight issues that can cause problems in dense urban areas. An excerpt from Apple's application with the FCC:Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.Apple intends to transmit from two fixed points located at Apple-controlled facilities in Cupertino, California, where it is headquartered, and nearby Milpitas, according to its FCC application. Apple said it anticipates that it will safely conduct its experiments for a period not to exceed 12 months. Apple will use the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were among those opened up by the FCC last year for the purpose of next-generation 5G broadband. It’s not entirely clear why Apple is planning to test millimeter wave performance, but it will join the likes of Google, Facebook, and major U.S. cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, who are testing 5G networks in preparation to deploy the next-generation technology in the coming years. Apple could perhaps be preparing its future iPhones to

Apple Files FCC Application to Test Next-Generation 5G Wireless Technology

Apple is planning to test next-generation 5G wireless technologies, according to an application document filed with the FCC and discovered by Business Insider. Apple applied for an experimental license to test wireless technology on millimeter wave spectrum bands. Millimeter wave bands provide higher bandwidth and throughput up to 10Gb/s, but are limited by line of sight issues that cause problems in dense urban areas."Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum," Apple wrote in its application. "These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks," it continued.Apple will test the technology in two locations in Milpitas and Cupertino over a period of time that is not expected to exceed 12 months, using equipment sourced from Rohde and Schwarz, A.H. Systems, and Analog Devices. Apple will use the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which were among those opened up by the FCC last year for the purpose of next-generation 5G broadband. It’s not entirely clear why Apple is planning to test millimeter wave performance or the purpose behind the testing. Cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are currently testing 5G networks in preparation to deploy the next-generation technology in the coming years. Apple could perhaps be preparing its future iPhones to take advantage of 5G technology, or the company may have some other purpose in mind. As Business Insider points out, the

FCC Chairman to End Plans to Allow In-Flight Cellphone Calls

Full smartphone use on commercial flights will continue to be disallowed, according to a proposal issued today by United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. Pai wants to terminate 2013 proceedings that aimed to relax the rules prohibiting passengers from using their cellular phones for phone calls and data while in the air. In a statement [PDF], Pai called the FCC's plan "ill-conceived" and said that tabling it permanently would be a "victory for Americans across the country.""I stand with airline pilots, flight attendants, and America's flying public against the FCC's ill-conceived 2013 plan to allow people to make cellphone calls on planes. I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest. Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans across the country who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet."Back in late 2013, The FCC announced plans to introduce a proposal that would allow passengers to use their cellular phones on airplanes during flight for making phone calls and browsing the web. The proposal went forward, despite protests from flight attendants, airlines, consumer groups, and pilots, leading the Department of Transportation to announce plans to consider banning calls if the FCC approved the measure. Since then, the FCC has been investigating the safety of allowing cellphone service on planes, and the proposal has not moved forward. With Pai aiming to nix it completely, it sounds like cellphone usage while in flight, including data usage for web browsing and making voice

FCC Chairman Encourages Activation of the FM Radio Receiver Built Into Your iPhone

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has advocated for the activation of FM radio receivers built into nearly every smartphone, as part of opening remarks he made at the Future of Radio and Audio Symposium in Washington D.C. yesterday. Many smartphones sold today, including iPhones, have an FM receiver built into the LTE modem that would allow people to listen to FM radio over the air; however, many carriers and phone makers have not enabled the functionality, forcing users to use an app to stream FM radio over Wi-Fi or cellular data. Pai cited a NAB study that found only 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States had activated FM receivers as of last year. The vast majority—94%—of the non-activated smartphones are iPhones, according to the study. "We could be doing a lot better," said Pai, who was appointed as FCC chairman last month. "It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman." The activation of FM receivers in iPhones would have several benefits, including battery life savings, less data usage, and most importantly, the ability to receive emergency alerts over radio without service. "You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone," added Pai. "The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal. The FCC has an expert advisory panel on public safety issues that has also advocated enabling FM radio chips on

Apple Submits Third Model of Mystery 'Wireless Device' With Bluetooth and NFC to FCC

Apple recently submitted an unnamed "Wireless Device" to the FCC, a U.S. government agency that regulates communications, for the third time. The latest filing lists a model number of A1845, slotting in between A1844 in the first filing and A1846 in the second, but there are no new clues as to what the device could be. Apple again requested permanent confidentiality for most of the documents in the filing, including photos, user manuals, and schematics, so the entry largely remains a mystery. Test reports completed by UL Verification Services reveal that, just like in the first two filings, the device has Bluetooth LE and NFC. The model numbers A1844, A1845, and A1846 do not correspond to any existing Apple products. A regulatory label in the first filing showed the device has at least two slightly curved edges and two Torx screws, but Apple cropped the image in the second and third filings, likely to give fewer hints about its design. When the original "Wireless Device" was uncovered, there was some speculation that it could perhaps be a new Apple TV, but the prominent and lengthy regulatory text etched directly on the device, including a wiring guide, would be uncharacteristic of Apple to include on the exterior of a consumer-facing product. The more likely explanation is that the wireless device is for internal use. It is possible that the device in question is something that is used in retail Apple stores, such as a product display unit or iBeacon-based equipment used to communicate with customer iOS devices, which Apple has filed with the FCC in the

Apple Again Seeks FCC Approval for Mysterious 'Wireless Device' With Bluetooth and NFC

For all of its devices that use communications technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC, Apple has to submit them to the United States Federal Communications Commission for approval, and the filings, though restricted, occasionally give hints as to what Apple is working on. In early January, Apple sought approval for an unnamed "Wireless Device" that features support for NFC and Bluetooth. With a model number of A1846, the device appears to be an iteration of a similar Wireless Device that was submitted for regulatory approval back in September. That device shared the same design but had a model number of A1844. The A1846 model number is not similar to existing Apple products, unveiling no information. There are no photos of the device itself, but a regulatory label that was on the original A1844 device pictured pointed towards slightly curved edges and two included torx screws. Apple appears to have updated the imagery in the second A1846 submission to give fewer hints on its design. When the original "Wireless Device" was uncovered, there was some speculation that it could perhaps be a new Apple TV, but given the design of the product and the prominent FCC labeling, it's much more likely that this is a behind-the-scenes object that will not see a public release. Regulatory information is etched directly on the back plate of the device along with a wiring guide, details that are not included on consumer-facing products. It's possible that the device in question is something that's used in retail Apple stores, such as a product display unit or iBeacon-ba

AT&T and Verizon Facing FCC Scrutiny After Exempting Their Own Apps From Data Caps

Both AT&T and Verizon offer apps and streaming services that don't count against the data cap they impose on customers, a practice that the United States Federal Communications Commission does not approve of. The FCC this week sent letters (via The Verge) to both Verizon and AT&T, claiming that the data cap exemptions, called "zero rating," raise net neutrality concerns and could impact consumers and competition. AT&T and Verizon each offer programs that allow content providers to pay a fee to be exempted from customer data caps, programs that they themselves take advantage of with their own apps and services. DirecTV Now, AT&T's recently introduced streaming television service, does not use data when streamed on the AT&T network, for example. DirecTV Now pays for the data, but as an AT&T subsidiary, AT&T is just paying itself. Verizon, meanwhile, exempts its own Go90 streaming service from using data on the Verizon network and does not pay fees to do so. The FCC first sent a warning to AT&T in early November, but was not pleased with the response it received from the company. In this week's letter, the FCC says that it has come to the "preliminary" conclusion that the Sponsored Data program inhibits competition, harms consumers, and violates Open Internet rules. It asks AT&T to answer a series of questions about its Sponsored Data practices.We find that those responses fail to alleviate the serious concerns expressed in our November 9 letter regarding the potential anti-competitive impacts of a wholesale Sponsored Data program for zero-rated mobile video

T-Mobile to Pay $48 Million For Lack of Transparency About Throttling Data-Heavy Users on Unlimited Plans

The FCC today announced it has reached a $48 million settlement with T-Mobile, including a $7.5 million fine and $35.5 million in consumer benefits, following an investigation into whether the carrier adequately disclosed speed and data restrictions for its so-called "unlimited" data plan subscribers. FCC investigators determined that ads and other disclosures from T-Mobile, and its prepaid brand MetroPCS, failed to adequately inform customers about its policy that de-prioritizes the top 3% of its heaviest data users during times of network contention or congestion, resulting in slower network speeds.“Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “When broadband providers are accurate, honest and upfront in their ads and disclosures, consumers aren’t surprised and they get what they’ve paid for. With today’s settlement, T-Mobile has stepped up to the plate to ensure that its customers have the full information they need to decide whether ‘unlimited’ data plans are right for them.”As part of the settlement, eligible T-Mobile and MetroPCS subscribers will automatically receive an additional 4GB of 4G LTE data for one month in December and be offered 20% off any single accessory at participating T-Mobile stores with a promo code to be sent via text message in December. Good settlement with FCC today. @TMobile believes more info is best for customers. #themoreyouknow https://t.co/XFY6dHPfN6— John

FCC Delays Vote on Proposal to Make Subscription TV Available on Any Set-Top Box via Apps

An FCC vote on a controversial proposal that would de-couple cable subscriptions from cable set-top boxes was today delayed as the Commission aims to work out "remaining technical and legal issues," the FCC said in a statement. [PDF]"It's time for consumers to say goodbye to costly set-top boxes. It's time for more ways to watch and more lower-cost options. That's why we have been working to update our policies under Section 629 of the Communications Act in order to foster a competitive market for these devices. We have made tremendous progress - and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices. We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country."Introduced in January by United States Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, the proposal initially called for content providers to allow cable and satellite subscribers to access and watch cable content on any set-top box of their choosing, including the Apple TV, rather than being forced to lease a set-top box provided by cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Cable companies want to have control over content and how and where it's displayed, so the FCC unsurprisingly met a lot of resistance over the proposal. Major changes to the measure were announced in early September in response to pushback from cable companies, and the revised version requires cable providers to develop apps featuring access to all of their programming -- live and

FCC Votes to Improve Emergency Smartphone Alerts With Longer Character Limits, Link Support

Emergency alerts delivered to iPhones and other smartphones to warn customers about poor weather conditions, missing children, local crime, and more, may soon feature support for web links, photos, phone numbers, and longer message content. The United States Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to expand emergency alerts from 90 to 360 characters on 4G and LTE networks, and to include support for links so people can follow up to get more information about an unfolding situation. As it stands, emergency alerts are short in length and often offer no resources for people to get in contact with emergency personnel if necessary. Image via NBC Wireless providers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile send these alerts and will be required to update their systems with support for the new features that have been mandated by the FCC."Vague directives in text about where to find more information about a suspect, just as we saw in New York, are not good enough," said Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner. "As we move into the 5G future, we need to ensure that multimedia is available in all of our alert messages."Carriers will also need to start supporting the transmission of Spanish language alerts and introduce a new type of safety alert designed to send "Emergency Governmental Information" like the locations of emergency shelters or an order to boil water before drinking. The FCC's decision follows criticism of the emergency alert system after alerts were sent out in New York and New Jersey asking citizens to help track down a man suspected of setting

Apple Submits Mystery 'Wireless Device' With Bluetooth and NFC to FCC

Earlier this week, we spotted an Apple filing for a nondescript "wireless device" pass through the FCC ID database. Apple characteristically requested permanent confidentiality for most of the documents in the filing, including photos, user manuals, and schematics, so the entry largely remains a mystery. What we do know is the device has a model number of A1844, which does not line up with any existing Apple products. A regulatory label shows the device has two Torx screws on the back plate of the device, which appears to have at least two slightly curved edges. The device has an electrical rating of 5.5V to 13.2V. Test reports completed by UL Verification Services also reveal the wireless device has Bluetooth and NFC, although Wi-Fi is not mentioned. Some websites have speculated the filing could represent a new Apple TV, but the device appears to be smaller based on the artwork -- although there are no exact measurements for scale. The device also has oddly specific regulatory text etched directly on the back of the device, including a wiring guide, which would be uncharacteristic of Apple to include on the exterior of a consumer-facing product. Perhaps, then, the wireless device is for internal use. Back in 2014, an FCC filing revealed Apple's first-party iBeacon hardware, for example, which the company uses in its retail stores. Originally introduced at WWDC 2013, iBeacon technology enables iOS devices to communicate with transmitters via Bluetooth LE in order to deliver relevant information to apps and services when a user is nearby. Without any

Apple to Join 'Robocall Strike Force' to Crack Down on Automated Phone Calls

Apple, AT&T, Google, and 30 other companies will join efforts with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission this year to crack down on automated phone calls, otherwise known as "robocalls," according to Reuters.AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson will make the announcement at the first "Robocall Strike Force" meeting at the FCC later on Friday, the company said.The so-called "Robocall Strike Force" will provide the FCC with "concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions" to crack down on automated phone calls by October 19, the report claims. Last month, the FCC sent a letter to phone companies and intermediaries, presumably including Apple, expressing how robocalls and telemarketing calls are the number one source of consumer complaints it receives. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler urged the companies to respond within 30 days with concrete, actionable solutions to tackle the problem, and AT&T was quick to agree that action is needed.AT&T is prepared to take a leadership position in the industry in the development of comprehensive solutions. We currently allow many of our customers to block calls using black-listing software like Nomorobo and we are committed to providing our customers with the best blocking tools available for use with their knowledge and consent. […] For these reasons, and at the request of Chairman Wheeler, Mr. Stephenson has agreed to chair a new Robocalling Strike Force, the mission of which will be to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of

FCC Demands AT&T Refund $7 Million in Unauthorized Charges by Scammers

The FCC's enforcement bureau announced today it has reached a settlement with AT&T that will see the carrier pay $7.75 million for allowing scammers to charge thousands of customers approximately $9 per month for a sham directory assistance service. AT&T has agreed to issue full refunds to all current and former customers who received unauthorized third-party charges from January 2012 onwards. The refunds are expected to total $6.8 million, while AT&T will also pay a $950,000 fine to the U.S. Treasury. The scam was uncovered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration while investigating two Cleveland-area companies Discount Directory, Inc. (DDI) and Enhanced Telecommunications Services (ETS) for drug-related crimes and money laundering. During the investigation, DEA officials discovered financial documents related to the scam that primarily targeted small businesses.AT&T received a fee from the companies for each charge AT&T placed on its customers’ bills. Although DDI and ETS submitted charges for thousands of AT&T customers, they never provided any directory assistance service. Neither DDI, ETS, nor AT&T could show that any of AT&T’s customers agreed to be billed for the sham directory assistance service. Phone companies like AT&T have a responsibility to ensure third-party charges are legitimate and were approved by the consumer.AT&T is required to cease billing for nearly all third-party products and services on its wireless bills, and can only reinstate charges of that kind with express informed consent from customers. The carrier also must revise its billing

U.S. Appeals Court Rules in Favor of FCC Net Neutrality Rules

A U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld landmark federal rules preventing internet service providers from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content (via Reuters). The backing for the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules came in a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The outcome reaffirms the law enforced last year that says ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally. The rules prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to faster internet lanes for specific internet services, which the FCC claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the internet. The court also rejected legal arguments from telecommunications industry groups that the rules should not apply to mobile phone web use or that they violated the constitutional free-speech rights of internet service providers. The court's decision in favor of the FCC means that it too considered the internet to be a public utility, and therefore subject to government regulations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the ruling "a victory for the open, fair, and free internet as we know it today," and one that barred service providers from becoming "paid gatekeepers". The outcome will also be seen as a personal victory for President Barack Obama, who is a strong advocate of net neutrality rules, although ISPs have already said they plan to appeal to either the full appellate court or the Supreme Court over the ruling. Telecoms industry groups have also said they will

FCC Moves Ahead With Proposal Aiming to Make Subscription TV Available on Any Set-Top Box

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, in a three-to-two decision, has voted to move forward with its proposal that could de-couple cable subscriptions from cable set-top boxes in the future, according to The Verge. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler first introduced the proposal last month, and it will now move to a comment period during which time businesses and customers in the U.S. will be able to voice their opinions about the changes. Under the proposed guidelines, cable or satellite TV subscribers would be able to access their programming package using virtually any set-top box, including the Apple TV, rather than be forced to lease a cable box from Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, or other cable or satellite providers. Apple, Amazon, Roku, and other set-top box makers would be able to create an interface, such as an app, that provides subscribers with full access to their TV package, which Wheeler believes will lead to improved choice and innovation for customers. The move could also drive down costs of set-top boxes.The competition, the Chairman argues, will drive down costs and improve device options for consumers. He said at the assembled meeting that "consumers have no choice today," and that the proposed rules did not make major changes for consumers. "It only creates the opportunity for them to have choice." "While the cost of other technologies have fallen as competition increased, the cost of a set-top box has risen at more than three times the rate of inflation for American paid-TV subscribers over that same period," FCC Commissioner Mignon