BigBand Likes FCC's Switched Digital Video Ruling


BigBand Networks cheered the Federal Communications Commission's ruling released last Friday reversing prior orders finding Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications had violated agency rules with their implementations of switched digital video.

TWC and Cox both use BigBand's SDV system, which delivers a linear TV channel only when a customer in a given service area requests it. That allows cable operators to offer more programming options in the same amount of spectrum, assuming not every channel will be accessed simultaneously.

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau, in one of the last actions under former chairman Kevin Martin, in January issued orders fining Time Warner Cable and Cox for moving some channels from their broadcast lineups to SDV, thereby making that programming inaccessible to CableCard-based devices like TiVo DVRs.

However, in the FCC's June 26 order, the agency said its rules regarding access by unidirectional digital cable products "were not intended to provide access to bidirectional services or to freeze all one-way cable programming services in perpetuity."

"We applaud the FCC's decision, which recognizes that SDV increases the amount and quality of programming for consumers today," BigBand president and CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi said in a statement. "The decision is a realization that the potential of SDV is not only in bandwidth expansion, but also in the industry's ability to bring cost-effective personalized video services to consumers on multiple screens."

BigBand shares closed at $5.14 each Monday, up 2.8% from the closing price Friday.

The company's SDV solution has been deployed or is being deployed by seven of the top 10 cable operators in North America, passing more than 24 million households today.