Light Reading
In a bipartisan vote, the US House of Representatives passed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELA), which also aims to end the FCC's CableCARD mandate.

House Votes to Kill CableCARD Mandate

Mari Silbey
7/23/2014
50%
50%

It's been seven years since the FCC's "seven oh seven" mandate banned cable companies from including integrated security in consumer set-top boxes. Now the US House of Representatives thinks it's time to bring the industry's hated CableCARD experiment to a close. (See Bye-Bye, CableCARDs?)

In a bipartisan vote, the House passed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Reauthorization Act of 2014 late Tuesday. The primary goal of the STELA bill (also known as STELAR) is to extend the rights of satellite operators to import distant network signals when local affiliate stations aren't available. However, the bill also kills the requirement that cable operators separate security from set-tops in the form of a CableCARD.

In other good news for cable, other provisions in STELA prevent broadcasters from colluding during retransmission negotiations and allow pay-TV providers to black out a programmer's signal even during sweeps periods if a licensing deal hasn't been reached. The US Senate must now approve the STELA bill and all these provisions for them to become law.

On the CableCARD front, the STELA bill comes after years of complaints from cable operators that the separable security mandate imposes unnecessary costs and an undue burden on them that satellite and telecom TV providers don't face. CableCARD technology has also largely struck out with consumers, very few of whom have installed the security modules in set-top devices that they bought at retail.

Indeed, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , in its latest filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , reported that more than 616,000 CableCARDs have been deployed by the nine largest cable operators for use in retail devices. While that number may sound impressive at first, it pales in comparison with the more than 47 million CableCARDs that have been shipped in operator-supplied set-tops over the past seven years.

Today's argument against the CableCARD also factors in the reality that the transition to IP video delivery is opening up competition in the TV hardware market without the help of any FCC mandate. Consumers can now watch an increasing amount of cable programming on computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and dedicated media streaming devices.


If you want to keep up with all the latest developments in cable set-top box technology and deployments, keep your eyes glued to our cable set-top box channel on the site.


Recently, news also leaked that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) (maker of the most popular retail CableCARD products) are working together on a non-CableCARD solution for delivering Comcast interactive services on TiVo's retail set-tops. If the two companies succeed, it could go a long way to appeasing TiVo fans who have traditionally been some of the most vocal CableCARD supporters. (See Comcast, TiVo May Ditch the CableCARD.)

Back to the US legislative process, the House vote on STELA precedes further consideration of the matter by the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed reauthorization of STELA earlier in the year, but the Senate now has to take the additional cable-related provisions into account. Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) have said they plan to move forward with a negotiated version of the bill for the Senate in September.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
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
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Introducing 'The New IP'
Stephen Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/11/2014
AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/12/2014
Glimpsing the Self-Driving Car
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/12/2014
Is Rackspace the Best Next Move for CenturyLink?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 9/9/2014
T-Mobile Accuses Huawei of Espionage
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/9/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed