Light Reading
Pressure group supports Cable ONE's waiver request for one-way HD boxes, while the Consumer Electronics Association opposes it

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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Comcast Turns Off Streampix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed