CEA: Comcast Stalling on CableCARDs

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The Consumer Electronics Association, in a filing Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission, said it opposed Comcast’s request that the FCC review the denial of the cable operator’s request for a partial waiver to the so-called integrated set-top ban set to go into effect July 1.

“It has now become clear that Comcast is simply seeking to delay the commission’s rules for an interminable time period,” the CEA said in a prepared statement.

Comcast declined to comment.

Under the FCC’s integrated set-top ban rules, any new set-top boxes Comcast and cable operators deploy after July 1 must have removable security features, which initially would mean CableCARD hardware devices.

The FCC’s Media Bureau Jan. 10 denied Comcast’s waiver request for three low-cost set-tops, ruling that the boxes didn’t meet its definition of “low-cost, limited-capability” devices. In a Jan. 30 letter to the commission, Comcast appealed to the FCC’s five commissioners to review the “fatally flawed” decision.

The CEA said Comcast’s request for a review suggests that the FCC “has been far too generous in the discretionary relief it has afforded to date,” referring to the fact that the ban on integrated set-tops has been delayed twice.

“Almost seven years after the July 1, 2000, date on which the commission explicitly assumed that CableCARDs would be in widespread deployment, Comcast’s goal remains counter to and inappropriate for the administration of the congressionally mandated competitive set-top-box regime,” the trade group added.

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