FCC: Bring on the DTAs

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The FCC has granted a waiver request to Evolution Broadband for two low-cost digital terminal adapters — or DTAs — and has signaled it’s ready to give the OK to other manufacturers of similar devices if warranted.

The FCC, in the order released Tuesday, noted the Evolution Broadband waiver was the first granted for a low-cost device rather than for a specific cable operator’s deployment of such a device. (See FCC Grants Waiver To Evolution’s Low-Cost Set-Tops.)

“We recognize the potential competitive implications of this outcome and will attempt to ensure that other manufacturers with similar devices can enter and compete as quickly as possible,” the FCC said.

For waiver requests pertaining to limited-function boxes, the FCC’s Media Bureau will release a public notice seeking comment on those certifications for a period of 10 calendar days, “after which the Bureau will expeditiously grant a waiver similar to the one granted herein, deny such a waiver, or take other appropriate action,” the agency said.

Comcast has been deploying low-function DTAs, from vendors including Motorola and Pace, that do not have security features enabled — they convert in-the-clear digital broadcasts to analog — thereby sidestepping the FCC’s separable-security rule. (See Comcast’s Project Cavalry: The March of 28 Million DTAs.)

Now it seems safe to assume that Comcast will be filling out a waiver application, if it hasn’t already, to get an exemption for a security-enabled DTA or two.

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