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FCC grants Cable One set-top waiver

Fri, 05/29/2009 - 9:40am
Brian Santo

The Federal Communications Commission has granted Cable One’s request to deploy a low-cost set-top that does not conform to the FCC’s ban against integrated security.

The Federal Communications Commission has granted Cable One’s request to deploy a low-cost set-top that does not conform to the FCC’s ban against integrated security.

This appears to be the first time the Commission has granted a flat waiver of its ban against set-tops with integrated security – the alternative being set-tops with removable CableCards.

The FCC has granted temporary waivers, however; Cablevision is one of the larger MSOs to have received a temporary waiver (story here).

From the time boxes with CableCards were first proposed, small and medium operators have complained that it will compel them to buy set-tops that are far more expensive than the integrated models.

In 2008, Cable One sought permission to deploy in one of its Tennessee systems a lower-cost set-top with integrated security that will provide consumers with much more affordable access to high-definition video. Such requests are usually contingent upon an agreement by the operator to go all-digital.

Despite opposition from the Consumer Electronics Association, which long fought for the integration ban, the FCC agreed to Cable One’s request for the waiver, apparently sympathetic to cable’s complaints about excessive costs.

CableCard boxes are said to run between $300 and $400. Cable One is said to have found a supplier who can provide HD boxes that cost $50 each.

Perhaps coincidentally, Evolution Digital and TiVo today announced a low-cost HD DVR (story here).

The American Cable Association, which represents smaller cable operators, hailed the FCC’s decision and said it hopes the waiver won’t be an isolated incident.

“We hope the ruling means that the FCC is prepared to grant similar waivers filed by ACA members that want relief from costly set-top box design mandates,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka.

More Broadband Direct 05/29/09:
•  FCC grants Cable One set-top waiver
•  Cablevision names Pistacchio prez of Optimum Lightpath
•  Verizon petitions FCC for access to MSG sports
•  Evolution, TiVo team on low-cost DVR
•  TiVo shares tumble 6%
•  Arris offers help qualifying for RUS
•  New video cables will connect TVs to Internet
•  Verizon Wireless to carry Android, Pre phones
•  Broadband Briefs for 05/29/09

 

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