Light Reading

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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
AT&T Testing Virtualized GPON
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 5/15/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/18/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones