Back in February, the FCC launched an inquiry into the possibility of anticompetitive, market-thinning and possibly antidiverse practices from video content providers across various platforms, from mobile to cable. The inquiry was focused not only on the activities and policies on the various networks and providers, but also on the programs themselves; the variety of the programs and the focus on program diversity. On Friday, T-Mobile issued a reply to that inquiry, essentially asking the FCC to re-examine their own policies regarding video content providers, as well as those providers' input to the FCC. T-Mobile's filing asks the FCC to look back over some key policies that seem to discourage entry into the video space and innovative practices, putting a damper on anybody entering the space who's not a traditional television content providers.
According to T-Mobile's filing, some provisions regarding the way that content distributors working across multiple channels do business allow them to offer better prices and contract terms than players in other parts of the video space, giving them an unfair advantage in pulling in new content and keeping old content going. T-Mobile also pointed out that provisions that pertain to "alternative distribution channels" are restrictive to providers and distributors seen as "alternative", such as wireless carriers, web content providers and distributors, and apps like Snapchat that provide video to mobile users in innovative ways. They also took issue with policies that essentially force bundles on providers that include programs that a provider's demographic may not want. A footnote mentioned that, in essence, T-Mobile doesn't think that the issue with cable boxes is quite as big of a deal as the FCC has treated it as.
Part of the filing sums up the whole deal quite nicely, saying, "T-Mobile urges the Commission to review whether historic practices present impediments to consumers' ability to access the video programming content that they want over the devices that they choose." For the time being, of course, the filing is only inquisitive in nature and, while it will inspire some second looks and invitations for opinions, no definitive action will likely happen for a good while. The issues mentioned by the FCC in February are still open for both public and industry comment.