FCC Will Open Up Gateway Issue

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The Federal Communications Commission’s
inquiry into requiring all TV providers to adopt
an Internet-based video gateway is among the tentative
agenda items for its April 21 open meeting. Topics proposed
for the docket include:

• Universal service fund reform: The FCC has proposed
as an agenda item on a notice of proposed rulemaking
for “common-sense reforms to the existing high-cost
support mechanisms to identify funds that can be refocused
toward broadband.” The agency also has proposed
a notice of inquiry on the use of a model to determine efficient and targeted support levels for broadband deployment
in high-cost areas.

• Video gateways: As part of the national broadband
plan issued last month, the FCC proposed requiring all
pay TV providers to deploy a “gateway” or functional
equivalent no later than Dec. 31, 2012, to allow thirdparty
consumer electronics to access TV programming
via a standardized IP interface. In addition, the
plan recommended that on an expedited basis, the FCC
should adopt rules for cable operators by the fall of 2010
“to fix certain CableCard issues while development of
the gateway device functionality progresses.”

• CableCard rules revisions: The FCC’s four proposed
changes to CableCard rules would require cable operators
to: ensure equal access to linear channels for retail and
operator-leased CableCard devices in cable systems with
switched digital video; establish “transparent pricing”
for CableCards and operator-leased set-top boxes; standardize
installation policies for retail and operator-leased
CableCard devices; and streamline and accelerate the certifi
cation process for retail CableCard devices.

The FCC will issue a public notice of the open meeting
agenda one week prior to the April 21 meeting and announce
at that time the items that are scheduled for the
agenda. That triggers the ex parte prohibitions for meetings
with FCC commissioners on those items.

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