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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a rider in a budget bill that would delay the Federal Communications Commission from opening up the cable set-top box market to competitors. This is how much Congress's continuous delay is costing consumers:

The FCC’s proposal to “unlock the box” would stop cable companies from forcing their customers to pay rental fees for set-top boxes, which average $231 per household per year. Instead, cable companies would be required to also support third-party devices, such as TiVo and Roku. The proposal has received ample support from the public, device makers, independent and minority programmers, civil rights groups, copyright experts, content creators, members of Congress, and President Obama.

But members of Congress supported by the cable industry snuck in an unnecessary rider to the budget bill that will require the FCC to conduct additional studies on the proposal. This is simply a delay tactic from incumbents who want to maintain their stranglehold on the market. Congress gave the FCC authority to reform the video marketplace 20 years ago, and the past two years the FCC has already convened a panel of experts to study the issue and held multiple rounds of public comments. The Commissioners have examined and addressed concerns from stakeholders, and it’s time to move forward.

Consumers will pay at least $1.6 billion per month while we wait on unnecessary delays by Congress, according to the Computer and Communications Industry Association. We are keeping track above of what cable customers are paying for every second we have waited since the end of the final public comment period. Contact your representatives in Congress today and tell them you are ready for choice and competition in the video marketplace, without delay. It’s time for the FCC to #UnlockTheBox.

Learn more in our recent blog post, “FCC Must Proceed: Don’t Let Congress Stop the Clock on Unlocking the Box.”

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