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NCTA: CEA overreaching in STB waiver comments

Tue, 07/17/2007 - 8:53am
Mike Robuck

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association took umbrage to recent comments made by the Consumer Electronics Association to the FCC about cable’s downloadable security, and fired off a quick response on Monday.

The NCTA’s comments came on the heels of  CEA’s criticism of cable’s downloadable security solution (DCAS) that CEA included in comments filed on one of the pending set-top box waiver requests. Colo Telephone Company and other petitioners had sought a waiver on the FCC’s integration ban, and while the NCTA said in its comments that it would take no position on the waiver requests, it did take issue with some of the material raised in the CEA comments.

The CEA comments “appear to raise new demands concerning all forms of downloadable security demands which are not relevant to the requested waivers and have no place in this proceeding,” according to the NCTA comments document.

The NCTA contends that the CEA is misguided in claiming that one solution and one interface for downloadable security are critical to fully develop a retail market for navigation devices. The NCTA pointed out that the FCC’s Media Bureau has indicated that IP, ATM, and IP/QAM networks should develop their own downloadable security solutions and not use a single, government-mandated approach.

DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon and other service providers use a variety of security solutions to distribute programming, but while the CEA suggests that “proprietary” downloadable security technologies can’t meet the law’s requirements” it isn’t lobbying against the proprietary technologies used by the above companies.

The NCTA also wrote that the CEA’s concerns, aside from not being appropriate for the waiver petition, have already been addressed in cable’s downloadable conditional access (DCAS) initiative, which has been developed with several key consumer electronics vendors.

But the CEA tried to raise the bar again on DCAS by requesting for “updates to the host end of the interface via firmware.” The NCTA argued that those types of updates “have nothing to do with the DCAS license.”

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