Light Reading

MSOs Get Waiver on Set-Top Security

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
5/4/2007
50%
50%

Christmas came early for three cable operators Friday when the Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted special waivers ahead of the July 2007 ban on digital set-tops with integrated security.

Designed to spur set-top competition, the ban will prevent cable operators from purchasing digital set-top boxes with the security elements already baked into the device. After the ban, the bulk of new set-tops will come equipped with an interface that accepts the CableCARD, a removable security module that contains the "keys" necessary to authorize a customer for cable services. To reduce operational complexities, some operators plan to deploy those boxes with the CableCARD pre-inserted.

Operators have argued that digital set-tops with CableCARDs cost two to three times that of like models with integrated security.

The Bureau, just ahead of next week's The Cable Show in Las Vegas, granted a one-year waiver to Charter Communications Inc. and conditional waivers to Millennium Telecom LLC (d/b/a Once Source Communications) and General Communication Inc. (GCI) (Nasdaq: GNCMA).

Charter initially sought a permanent waiver on seven lower-end digital boxes with integrated security that support apps and services such as an electronic program guide, pay-per-view, and video-on-demand.

The Bureau, however, awarded a limited waiver until July 1, 2008, noting that more than half of the devices Charter will deploy after the July 2007 deadline will have separated security -- in this case, the removable CableCARD. The Bureau also gave Charter some relief due to "severe financial difficulties" the MSO faces, as well as its status as a "rural" operator. Roughly 57 percent of Charter's systems fall into that category. Charter also has the OK to file a request for an extension.



GCI of Alaska and One Source of Texas, were awarded waivers on the condition that they commit "to migrate their systems to all-digital on or before Feb. 17, 2009."

GCI asked for a waiver on all new set-tops issued beyond the integration ban, but the Bureau gave the OK on three Motorola models with integrated security: the DCT700 (an all-digital box) and the DCT1000 and DCT2000, which are hybrid analog/digital boxes.

OneSource was seeking a waiver on the DCT700 and the DCT3416. The Bureau endorsed the waiver on the bare-bones DCT700, but did not grant continued deployment of the DCT3416, a model with an on-board digital video recorder and high-definition television capabilities. The Bureau said it was unconvinced of OneSource's argument that the higher-end model was "critical to its ability to migrate to all-digital."

Friday's waiver and conditional waivers follow similar decisions handed down by the Bureau in January. While denying a waiver request by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), it allowed for conditional waivers for Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and BendBroadband . (See FCC to Comcast: 'No Waiver for You'.)

Comcast, which had sought waivers on certain all-digital set-top models from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Scientific Atlanta , and Pace Micro Technology , is presently seeking full FCC review on the Bureau's original decision. (See Comcast Appeals CableCARD Ruling.)

While most cable operators initially will use the CableCARD to comply with the ban, a number of MSO-led ventures are vetting out less expensive downloadable conditional access system (DCAS) technologies.

Among them are Polycipher LLC, a joint venture of Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Cox Communications Inc. ; and Beyond Broadband Technology (BBT), a company led by Buford Media Group, WinDBreak Cable, and Tele-Media Broadband.

Of the two ventures, Polycipher has been the more clandestine in terms of marking its progress publicly. Some additional detail might be revealed at The Cable Show next Tuesday afternoon during a conditional access session. Tom Lookabaugh, Polycipher's CEO, is scheduled to participate on the panel.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice
Iain Morris, News Editor, 9/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.