& cplSiteName &

ACA Backs Cable ONE Hi-Def Box Plan

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
12/2/2008
50%
50%

The American Cable Association (ACA) , a pressure group that represents more than 1,000 small and mid-sized MSOs, is throwing its political weight behind Cable ONE Inc. 's plan to pursue an all-digital migration led by simple, one-way boxes capable of outputting high-definition television (HDTV) signals.

The ACA formalized its support via a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last Friday (Nov. 28) that urges the Commission to approve a set-top waiver request Cable ONE placed in late October for its Dyersburg, Tenn., cable system.

The spectrum freed up by those devices, the ACA claimed, will serve the public interest because it would enable Cable ONE (and potentially other, similar MSOs) to go all-digital affordably, and to use that newfound digital spectrum to broaden their HD programming lineups or offer speedier Docsis 3.0-based Internet services.

"Unfortunately, for many of ACA's members, the digital set-top boxes that are required under existing rules are just too expensive to deploy," said ACA president and CEO Matthew M. Polka, referring to an FCC set-top security mandate that went into effect last July. (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven' and Boxing Up 'Seven-Oh-Seven' .)

"The use of HD ADDs [HD-capable all-digital devices] gives cable operators a cost-effective way to transition to an all-digital network. Cable ONE's Dyersburg system faces this challenge, and we urge the Commission to grant the waiver it needs to best serve Cable ONE's customers," he added.

As first reported by Cable Digital News, Cable ONE is seeking a waiver for a new breed of low-cost, one-way HD ADDs with embedded security for use in the operator's system in Dyersburg. If the waiver is granted, the operator has pledged to migrate the system to all-digital within one year of obtaining the waiver, and to use freed up capacity to offer a minimum of 50 HD networks to customers at no additional service charge beyond what's being paid for the service tier currently containing the analog or standard-definition version of those networks. (See Cable ONE Seeks Hi-Def DTA Waiver .)

In June, before filing its official waiver request, Cable ONE urged the FCC to consider updating its set-top waiver rules to allow operators to use simple, one-way, digital-to-analog converters capable of supporting HD services. The MSO, which serves about 700,000 basic subs, argued that such a device should be allowed under the waiver rules because HD no longer qualifies as an "advanced" service. (See CEA Attacks Cable One HD Plan and HD No Longer an 'Advanced' Service?)

Although HD ADDs are not yet generally available, Cable ONE maintains that Evolution Broadband LLC and other vendors can produce the equipment in volume for as little as $50 per unit.

If the waiver is approved, it could pave the way for Cable ONE and other MSOs to get more bang out of their limited capacity systems (i.e., those with 550 MHz of spectrum) and product hi-def lineups that can exceed, or at least rival, those offered by DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)

The CEA's riposte
As expected, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) isn't letting this waiver request proceed without a fight.

In a filing of its own, the CEA argued that the "mere 'increased availability' of an existing service, high-definition programming, does not necessitate a waiver." The Association added that the FCC has a sound basis for excluding HD devices from "limited-functionality" waivers because previously granted waivers are "transitional expedients granted in the context of the digital transition." (See Son of 'Waiver Central' .)

Furthermore, the CEA said Cable ONE "appears to be requesting a permanent waiver," which is not permitted under the original FCC order.

The CEA also contends that Cable ONE's waiver request "undermines" the FCC's attempt at building a retail market for two-way devices that separate out the security function via the CableCARD.

"For cable operators like Cable ONE now to deploy new set-top boxes with proprietary integrated security would be a great leap backwards for the Commission and for the goal of competitive availability," the CEA said.

Cable ONE addressed that issue in its waiver request, noting that the MSO would continue to support removable CableCARDs and all compatible electronic devices (digital set-tops and TVs) purchased by consumers at retail outlets and on all "high-functionality" (i.e., two-way) devices offered for lease by Cable ONE.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.