Both Cisco Systems and Motorola filed waiver petitions last week with the Federal Communications Commission, seeking to obtain three-year exemptions for their low-cost digital adapters from the agency's ban on set-tops with integrated security.
The vendors filed their requests June 10, about one week after the FCC granted a three-year waiver to Evolution Broadband for two sub-$50 digital terminal adapters, or DTAs, that do not include CableCards and instead provide integrated-security features.
Under the waiver, Evolution Broadband is allowed to provide the set-top units to any cable operator -- the first time the FCC provided an exemption for a device rather than an operator's implementation of a device. The FCC said it "will attempt to ensure that other manufacturers with similar devices can enter and compete as quickly as possible" by acting expeditiously on waiver requests for similar low-cost DTAs.
Motorola and Cisco promptly took the FCC up on its offer.
Motorola applied for a waiver on two "digital transport adapters": the DTA-100, which works in Motorola systems, and the DTA-100u, which works with either Motorola or Cisco security. The sub-$50 devices measure 6 by 4 by 1.3 inches, according to the company's filing, and access only one-way, standard-definition digital cable channels.
The Motorola DTAs don't include the MediaCipher chip included in its integrated set-tops, but they do have "a standard core silicon system-on-a-chip that has the latent ability to support decryption capability," the company said.
"The most customer-friendly and cost-effective way to secure delivery of SD digital channels to DTA customers -- and the approach favored by most programmers - is to activate the decryption capability in the DTAs with the necessary software download," Motorola said in its filing.
Cisco, meanwhile, requested a waiver for three units: the DTA 30 and DTA 50, and the DTA 70. The vendor recently said it was targeting beta trials for the DTAs in the third quarter.
According to Cisco, the DTA 70 only works in Cisco systems while the DTA 30 and DTA 50 will work in both Motorola and Cisco systems. The DTA 50 and DTA 70 models operate at 57-KHz infrared frequency, while the DTA 30 operates at 38-KHz IR frequency.