FCC Will Lift Basic Digital Encryption Ban Dec. 10

Move Will Cut Truck Rolls, Help Prevent Theft of Service

Cable operators can start encrypting digital basic tiers as of Dec. 19, according to the FCC.

The commission's order lifting the basic tier encryption ban becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which was Nov. 9.

The commission voted 5-0 in October to allow cable operators to encrypt their digital basic tiers.

The commission adopted the rule prohibiting cable operators from scrambling digital basic tiers so that viewers with cable-ready sets would not have to buy or rent a set-top box. Now, because of the cost savings to cable operators, the reduction in pollution from fewer truck rolls, theft-of-service prevention, and the general lack of complaints in markets where the agency had granted waivers -- most prominently to Cablevision Systems in New York in 2010 -- the chairman signaled it was time to lift the ban and the other commissioners agreed.