Broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, would like to have the FCC change its rules and allow cable operators to encrypt their signals. They together argue that enabling encryption will actually improve the delivery of their signals and improve innovation of digital content delivery. And for the cable operator, it would reduce bandwidth issues and improve security. But is it also good for the consumer?
"Critics of the rule change contend that putting MSOs on parity with other providers by allowing basic-tier encryption would force consumers to rent set-tops and limit choice, because they would no longer be able to receive "clear QAM" digital TV." Still, it is all about serving content to authenticated consumers. As long as broadcast networks also offer over the air, digital signals, then these channels can still be fully accessed by non cable subscribers. In an ideal world, all broadcast channels would have a web presence, enabling a live linear feed of its programming to any consumer via the internet. Content that is geographically limited, like NFL football games, may need to be blocked, but typical network programming should be accessible and available regardless of a cable subscription or not.