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Cable lauds delay in integrated set-top ban

The cable industry is praising a Federal Communications Commission decision
Friday postponing the ban on new integrated set-top boxes once set for Jan. 1,

The new deadline will be 18 months later -- July 1, 2006 -- but the FCC held
out the possibility that the ban could eventually be eliminated.

The ban would require cable operators to separate security devices from
electronic-program-guide equipment. The aim of the ban has been to create a
retail market for set-top boxes rather than leaving the devices in the domain of
cable operators.

"Since customers return leased boxes when they move, these boxes do not need
to be portable, which was the primary reason for separating security from
nonsecurity functions in such devices," the National Cable &
Telecommunications Association said.

"We are particularly pleased that the FCC established a timetable to consider
elimination of the rule," the NCTA added.