CableCards surpass 4M mark in STBs
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association  (NCTA) said in a report to the Federal Communications Commission  (FCC) that the Top 10 cable operators in the nation have deployed 4.18 million CableCards into set-top boxes (STBs) in the past nine months.
In its second report to the FCC on the status of CableCard deployments, the NCTA said that as of March 19, consumer electronics manufacturers had more than 580 unidirectional digital cable ready product (UDCP) models – such as digital cable ready digital TV sets – certified or verified for use with CableCards.
As for CableCard deployment for those UDCPs, the five MSOs that are required to report to the FCC – Cablevision , Charter Communications , Comcast , Cox Communications  and Time Warner Cable  – and that serve nearly 80 percent of the cable subscribers in the country, have deployed more than 320,000 CableCards for use in UDCPs.
There have been more than 347,000 CableCards deployed for use in UDCPs by the 10-largest incumbent cable operators, which serve approximately 90 percent of cable subscribers in the U.S.
By contrast, since the “integration ban” went into effect on July 1, 2007, those 10 companies have already deployed more than 4.18 million operator-supplied STBs with CableCards.
NCTA General Counsel Neal Goldberg wrote in the report that in less than nine months, cable operators have deployed more than 12 times as many CableCard-enabled devices than the total number of CableCards requested by customers for use in UDCPs in the last four years.
Last year, cable operators spent a significant amount of time readying STBs with removable CableCards in warehouses by scanning up to five bar codes on the back of the STBs. Since the current CableCard-enabled STBs do not provide additional services to the consumers, most cable operators looked at deploying them as an added financial burden in the near term.
A host of cable operators have requested waivers from the FCC on deploying STBs with CableCards. While Comcast was turned down, others, including Cablevision and Charter, were granted waivers.
More Broadband Direct:Broadband Briefs for 3/26/08