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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (2) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
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
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile Launches RCS Messaging
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/22/2015
Huawei Working Hard for Rural Success
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/22/2015
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone Test TWDM-PON
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 7/22/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Cat Sense Click Here
Can you hear me now?