Comcast Forms Conditional Access Ventures With Motorola

Comcast Corp. is getting into the conditional access business. Comcast and Motorola Inc. unveiled a "broader strategic relationship" today that calls for North America's largest MSO to continue buying digital cable set-tops and network equipment from Motorola for years to come. The set-top purchase agreement is valued at more than $1 billion, making it the biggest in Comcast's history. But, even more notably, Comcast and Motorola also agreed to create two joint conditional access (CA) ventures. The first joint venture will develop a next-generation conditional access system, using Motorola's MediaCipher as the foundation. The second joint venture will license conditional access and other cable technologies, including MediaCipher, to other U.S. MSOs and third-party providers. Comcast will manage the licensing venture, presumably meaning that it will be able to license Motorola's CA system to other set-top makers and cable operators. In a significant move, Motorola has granted both ventures a non-exclusive license for MediaCipher, its leading CA technology.
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