Martin Rocks the Vote

One interesting aside tied to the rapidly approaching ban on set-tops with integrated security emerged from all the hoopla Thursday surrounding the family-friendly bill that could foist à la carte on cable operators and other TV service providers. (See Cable to Face Second 'Family' Act.)

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who is very much in favor of the bill, reportedly said he expects to vote on a request from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) that seeks full FCC review of the Media Bureau's denial of the MSO's request for a waiver on some low-end, all-digital set-top models with integrated security. (See FCC to Comcast: 'No Waiver for You'.)

Martin plans to submit his vote before the ban comes into effect on July 1.

In the meantime, many other MSOs are still waiting for the FCC to act on their waiver requests. Other ops, including smaller MSOs such as Jet Broadband, are said to be seeking a deferral that will allow them to deploy set-tops with integrated security until they are able to obtain a stock of "host" boxes that support the removable CableCARD module. (See Show Me the M-Card!)

With the mandated ban just over two weeks away, shouldn't the FCC be on these requests posthaste... Or is it already too late for it to really matter? Or is that the idea?

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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