Cable One To FCC: We Need More Time To Roll Out Low-Cost HD Set-Tops

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Cable One has asked the Federal Communications Commission for more time to roll out its low-cost HD boxes, saying it has not been able to find an HD box for the requisite $50-or-under price.

The FCC in May said it would let Cable One offer low-cost, one-way integrated HD all-digital devices (ADD) in its Dyersburg, Tenn., system, but the operator said at the time that rolling out the boxes was predicated on the assumption it could get the devices at $50 or less so that the box could, indeed, be low-cost.

Cable One said it has been in discussions with vendors, including Evolution Broadband, and still thinks it can get the devices for that price, but it says the solution is ultimate, not immediate. "None of the potential options results in the availability of an HD ADD at the requisite wholesale price of $50 or less," the operator said.

The FCC had initially said that its waiver policy for low-cost, one-way boxes would not include ones with HD capability. But Cable One argued that almost all cable nets would be offered in HD, and that granting the waiver would promote the sale of HD sets.

The commission agreed that the one-way HD set-top would be an appropriate option for consumers and effectively modified the waiver to include them, signaling others could get the same waiver. "[W]e believe that, with the passage of time, it is appropriate to add HD functionality to the list of one-way capabilities that can qualify for a waiver of the general rule," said the FCC in granting the original waiver.

Cable One's Nov. 20 filing is available here.

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