The agency last month granted Evolution Broadband a blanket waiver exempting its DTAs with content encryption enabled from the “integrated set-top ban,” and the FCC said it would consider other vendors’ requests (see DTAs Get FCC’s Blessing).
Nagravision USA, the conditional-access provider owned by Switzerland-based Kudelski Group, filed a request July 16 with the FCC for a waiver certifying that its AC-N060PD2A-SC and AC-N060PD2A-SIM digital transport adapters are “low-cost, limited-capability devices that are no more advanced” than the Evolution DTAs. The FCC posted a notice seeking comment on Nagravision’s petition on Tuesday; comments are due Aug. 7.
Robin Wilson, Nagravision USA’s VP of business development, said the two DTAs referenced in the company’s filing are low-function boxes that are not upgradable to HD or other advanced services. The devices, produced by an original design manufacturing partner, provide security on either a removable smart card (the “SC” model) or subscriber identity module card (the “SIM” version). He noted that Nagravision works with more than 30 set-top vendors worldwide, including ADB, EchoStar, Pace and Thomson.
Background on this topic: The vendors producing DTAs — Evolution, Cisco, Motorola, Pace and Thomson — note that the devices are a key tool cable providers can use in migrating from analog to digital TV, to free up bandwidth for other services.
Among the MSOs, Comcast has been the biggest proponent and really the one driving the bus here, although to date it has not turned on the DTAs’ encryption features because of the integrated set-top ban (see Comcast Rides 51 HD Channels Into S.F. Bay Area, Comcast’s Project Cavalry: The March of 28 Million DTAs, and Comcast Picks DTA Partners).
DTAs also have the support of the Walt Disney Co., which pointed out in an FCC filing earlier this month that they would expand the number of subs who could access digital cable programming.
Meanwhile, several public interest groups argue that the devices would let MSOs “lock in” consumers and inhibit the market for third-party cable-ready devices.