On Wednesday, Cablevision filed its opposition to a request by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) that the Federal Communications Commission pull Cablevision’s set-top box waiver.
In January, Cablevision won an 18-month extension on its set-top box waiver from the FCC’s Media Bureau (story here). The waiver allows Cablevision to continue using SmartCard-based set-top boxes instead of the more costly CableCards. As part of the waiver, Cablevision committed to meeting certain milestones in regard to the deployment of a downloadable security system.
The CEA filed a petition last month with the FCC that sought to reverse the waiver. The CEA contended in its filing that there was no public comment on granting the waiver to Cablevision, and that there was a procedural error in the Media Bureau’s ruling.
“The order is not in conflict with statute, regulation, case precedent or established Commission policy, but instead is entirely consistent with the Commission’s policy and precedent for granting waivers to facilitate the deployment of downloadable security,” Cablevision wrote in its 11-page filing this week. “CEA also claims prejudicial procedural error, but the Bureau’s procedural handling of the case was not in error, and in any case was not prejudicial to CEA.”
In July 2007, cable operators were forced to switch over to set-top boxes with CableCards, although some were granted waivers by the FCC.
In general, cable operators consider the CableCards costly additions with no benefit to subscribers. Cable operators would rather use a downloadable security option instead of the CableCards, but the FCC wasn’t willing to wait for downloadable security.
Cablevision could face fines of up to 5,000 per day if it misses any of the upcoming deadlines that were set in the waiver.