Internet video has proven to be tremendously popular. In March 2009, viewers streamed nearly ten billion videos and averaged three hours watching video on the Internet. Subscription video services, including traditional cable services provided by many companies, video services offered by companies traditionally considered telephone companies, and Internet-based subscription services, use or plan to use Internet Protocol (“IP”) to deliver their video content. As the popularity of IP delivery of video continues to increase, we believe that new applications will emerge, Internet use will increase, consumers will have more viewing options, and more viewers will want to access Internet content on their televisions.
In addition to Section 629’s statutory mandate that the Commission adopt regulations to assure a competitive market for navigation devices, we believe that video devices are an important part of developing a National Broadband Plan. Although 76 percent of U.S. households have personal computers, 99 percent have television sets. The convergence of the television and content delivered by IP makes this a critical time to promote innovation in set-top devices that could support the Commission’s effort to drive broadband adoption and utilization. Accordingly, the Commission wishes to consider taking an active role in formulating a solution that will spur the development of a retail market for nationally portable video devices that will work across all delivery platforms, including MVPD platforms and broadband-based video platforms. We seek comments on the following specific issues to help us better understand these issues as we develop a National Broadband Plan.