WASHINGTON--Consumer groups are pushing federal regulators to write rules for interactive television, but the companies that will deliver that service argue that it's hard to regulate an industry that barely exists.
The Federal Communications Commission on Monday collected comments from a variety of parties on its inquiry into applying regulations to interactive television (ITV). The inquiry resulted from the AOL Time Warner merger, when concerns arose that the company might use its cable pipes to control what interactive services could reach consumers.
However, despite years of promises that couch potatoes could remote-click their way through a sea of Internet content right on their TV screens, an ITV industry doesn't really exist yet. The question facing regulators, then, is whether they must act now to ensure that any future industry is open, or whether even the threat of regulations will prevent any industry from flourishing. -- Patrick Ross, Special to ZDNet News