[opendtv] News: Cable Wants to Keep Dual Boxes

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 08:51:06 -0500

Cable Wants to Keep Dual Boxes

By Bill McConnell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/21/2004 6:06:00 PM

  With a Federal Communications Commission decision expected early 
next year, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association 
continues to press its case for eliminating a rule that will require 
cable operators to stop providing set-top boxes that combine both 
security and channel-surfing functions.

  Current FCC rules require operators to stop providing dual-function 
boxes in July 2006.

  The rules were imposed to encourage a competitive retail market for 
set-top navigation boxes that could contain a variety of new 
interactive features.

  Despite consumer electronics makers' desire to keep the current 
rule, NCTA General Counsel Neal Goldberg told the FCC Monday that the 
ban isn't needed to foster a market for retail boxes and will harm 
consumers through higher prices.

Since introduction in the last few months, the number of boxes 
manufactured for retail has grown to over 140 devices from 11 
manufacturers. The number of boxes deployed has grown from zero to 
approximately 10,000 "with the number rapidly escalating every week," 
he said.

Goldberg also challenged the consumer electronics makers' assertion 
that cable has an interest in weakening the retail market.

  The FCC previously pledged to rule on NCTA's request by Jan. 1. But 
agency staffers say the decision actually will be made a week or two 
after that date.

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