Last month, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association provided the Federal Communications Commission with an update on the number of CableCards that have been deployed since the FCC’s integration ban was put in place in July 2007.

The top-10 cable operators have handed out more than 456,000 CableCards for use in retail devices. In the NCTA’s previous report in September, the tally stood at 443,000 CableCards.

Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable – which serve nearly 80 percent of the cable subscribers in the country – accounted for more than 430,000 CableCard deployments.

Overall, the top-10 MSOs have deployed more than 17.75 million cable operator-supplied set-top boxes with CableCards since the integration ban was put in place.

In more than 27 months, cable operators have deployed almost 39 times as many CableCard-enabled devices than the total number of CableCards requested by customers for use in retail devices over the last five years.

The FCC’s mandate that cable operators put CableCards into digital set-top boxes was supposed to help consumer electronics devices have “common reliance” on cable operators’ networks, but cable operators have viewed the CableCards as an added expense.

Also last month, the NCTA sent a letter to the FCC in regard to the development of a retail market for set-top boxes, which included the need for two-way devices. The Dec. 22 letter was in response to a notice of inquiry earlier that month. In the Dec. 22 letter, the NCTA asked to be included in discussions about developing a retail environment for set-top boxes.

“NCTA welcomes the opportunity to further examine these questions as part of a notice of inquiry, which can delve into the myriad issues that must be addressed in developing an approach to retail availability that has a chance to succeed,” the letter said. “The Commission has already raised some thoughtful proposals on possible new approaches on navigation device issues, and we provide below some additional ideas on how the Commission might approach this area. These various proposals raise a host of technical, economic, practical, legal and regulatory questions that will require input from all stakeholders and are not yet ripe for rulemaking.

“The Commission should focus on whether, and to what extent, such proposals reflect current and projected marketplace realities and truly accommodate demonstrated consumer preferences.”

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