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
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
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
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Google: Carriers & Cloud Providers Need to Cooperate
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/16/2014
iPad Air 2 Lets Users Switch Carriers Any Time
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/17/2014
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
CBS Takes OTT Plunge
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/16/2014
NYC Subway Wireless No Cure for Ebola Fears
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed