Thomson, Pace seek DTA waivers from FCC

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 8:30am
Mike Robuck

Add Thomson and Pace to the list of companies that are seeking waivers for their digital terminal adapters (DTAs) from the Federal Communications Commission.

Like Cisco and Motorola (story here), Pace and Thomson filed for the waivers after Evolution Broadband was granted its three-year waiver earlier this month for its DMS-1002 and DMS-1002 CA boxes with DTAs, which have a price range of $44-$50 per box (story here).

Evolution’s waiver request was the first of its kind at the time, since it was an equipment vendor rather than a cable operator seeking exemption from the integrated set-top box decree by the FCC that went into effect in July of 2007.

The waiver allows Evolution to sell its boxes without the more expensive CableCards that were required by the separable security mandate.

In the FCC’s Evolution ruling, it said it would expedite similar waiver requests from other DTA vendors, which include Cisco, Motorola, Thomson and Pace, in order to meet the “low-cost, limited-capability” standard set forth in the FCC’s 2005 Deferral Order.

On Thursday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued notices for public comment on Pace and Thomson’s waiver requests. The public comment period lasts until June 29.

Pace filed a request for a waiver pursuant to the FCC’s streamlined process for its DC50X and DC50Xu DTAs, while Thomson filed on its DCI104 and DCI105 DTAs.

Comcast has been a big proponent of DTAs as it moves analog channels over to digital in order to reclaim bandwidth. Thomson, Pace and Motorola have provided DTAs to Comcast (story here).

Cable operators can reclaim between 250 MHz and 300 MHz in each system that goes all-digital. If a typical cable system has 79 analog channels and the operator decides to move 59 of those channels to digital, while perhaps leaving 20 or so as a life-line analog service for some select markets, it would reclaim 354 MHz.

Given 354 MHz of reclaimed spectrum in the example above – and the fact that, on average, 10 standard-definition MPEG-2 digital programs can be inserted into one 6 MHz slot – this yields enough bandwidth for nearly 590 channels.

More Broadband Direct 06/19/09:
•  Canoe Ventures suspends launch of 1st targeted ad initiative
•  Thomson, Pace seek DTA waivers from FCC
•  Congress considering online privacy legislation
•  Cable does well in business services survey
•  Comcast buys rest of cable channel from Hearst
•  Sony shareholders approve new management
•  New iPhone goes on sale with less drama
•  Broadband Briefs for 06/19/09



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