DTA Vendor Blasts CEA's Opposition To Waiver Request


Evolution Broadband, a vendor selling low-cost digital-to-analog converters to cable operators, called the Consumer Electronics Association’s opposition to its waiver request “a disingenuous document rife with inaccurate claims and irrelevant arguments” in a filing Friday with the Federal Communications Commission.

“CEA’s opposition collapses under the lightest scrutiny,” Evolution said.

Colorado-based Evolution on May 12 asked the FCC for a three-year waiver to the agency’s separable security mandate, arguing that it would allow its customers to deploy inexpensive and limited-function digital-to-analog adapters and convert their systems to all-digital operation.

Evolution currently offers two models of one-way DTAs: a $45 device without conditional access, and a $55 version that includes an embedded security module from Conax, a subsidiary of Norwegian telecom provider Telenor.

The CEA filed comments opposing Evolution’s waiver request on June 16, http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6571949.html asserting that the company’s DTAs use “new security technologies that are not disclosed or available to competitive entrants” and “cannot be implemented competitively on a nationally portable basis.”

Evolution called that argument a red herring, pointing out that the company does not need to meet the common-reliance requirement because it is seeking a waiver.

In any case, according to Evolution, Conax’s conditional access is in fact disclosed and available to “new entrants.”

Indeed, more than 200 set-top box makers use the CA system, including several of CEA’s own members such as Samsung Electronics, Nokia, Motorola and Philips.

As for CEA’s charge that Evolution’s DTAs would “undermine competitive products available at retail,” Evolution called into question the availability of CableCard-enabled third-party consumer electronics.

“Nearly a year after the integration ban went into effect [July 1], a search of the Web sites of several major consumer electronics vendors did not reveal a single CableCard-compatible set-top box,” Evolution said.

The company also said its entry into the market would increase competition by challenging the de facto duopoly on cable set-tops by Motorola and Cisco Systems.

Evolution noted that the American Cable Association and several operators—Cable One, Baja Broadband, Frankfort Plant Board and TVMax—filed comments with the FCC in support of its waiver request.