This Thursday, the House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on The Future of Video. I look forward to attending and learning from the great panel that has been invited.
The witness list for Thursday – Mark Cuban (HDNet), Blake Krikorian (CEO, Sling Media), Chad Hurley (YouTube), Gina Lombardi (President, MediaFLO; Qualcomm), Ben Pyne (Disney and ESPN networks), Tom Rogers (TiVo), and Phil Rosenthal (Writers Guild of America, West and Screen Actors Guild).
With regard to wireless, I expect Gina Lombardi to discuss Qualcomm’s vision for mobile TV. Verizon and at&t will offer MediaFLO to consumers. On a related note, the FCC last week issued its report and order on 700 MHz and channel 56 (in the lower band) may be a great target in the upcoming auction for Qualcomm (it has the same features as CH 55 which Qualcomm owns and uses for MediaFLO). Spectrum will not be a major discussion point on Thursday. However, I think it is important that policymakers start thinking about where the next chunks of spectrum will come from for commerical technologies (licensed and unlicensed). More spectrum in the market is good for competition.
Network Neutrality is an unavoidable topic for Thursday’s hearing. My hope is that the conversation will touch on ways to enable network operators to get consumers the fastest broadband connections and not on discrimination of traffic (a problem that doesn’t exist). Consumers win when they can watch what they want and enjoy the growing number of interesting content on the web. Operators win as consumers want to buy the best package which will provide them the highest speeds etc. Broadband breakdown is on the horizon as more consumers participate and enjoy web TV. Thinking about ways to prevent a capacity problem for both the operators and consumers would be a good step for the future of video.
dish disclosure – Our firm represents Qualcomm (as a member of the Wireless Broadband Coalition) on spectrum issues and Comcast on Network Neutrality.