The cable industry has installed roughly 25,000 CableCARDs, up from the 700 the National Cable & Telecommunications Association reported to the Federal Communications Commission back in August 2004.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher, a law firm representing Comcast Corp., revealed the figure in an FCC Ex Parte document filed with the FCC on Feb. 10. Of the 25,000 CableCARDs deployed, about 12,000 have been provided by Comcast.
The filing noted some details tied to a Feb. 9 meeting between Comcast SVP of Strategic Planning Mark Coblitz, Comcast Chief Policy Advisor James Coltharp, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, and Copps senior legal advisor, Jordan Goldstein.
There, Coblitz pushed cable's position that the industry should not be prohibited from deploying set-tops with integrated security, noting that the CableCARD deployments so far should demonstrate that the cable industry is fully honoring its commitments to support the CableCARD and that it is working in good faith toward a two-way Plug & Play agreement with the consumer electronics industry.
The cable industry has pressed the FCC to either lift or extend a deadline that operators be banned from distributing set-tops with integrated security by July 1, 2006. A ban on boxes with integrated security, the industry has held, will impede cable's progress toward low-cost digital set-tops, because CableCARD support adds unnecessary costs to the picture.
The Consumer Electronics Association, however, has urged the agency to retain the current deadline, arguing that CE companies would find themselves at a competitive disadvantage without uniform support for the CableCARD interface, and that the equipment required for the interface will not reach commodity levels without a mandated ban on boxes with internal security.
The NCTA said 14 manufacturers are verified for making CableCARD-based products, and that those companies have combined to produce and market 161 products that incorporate the CableCARD interface. That's up from 11 manufacturers and 60 Digital Cable Ready products the NCTA reported to the FCC last September.