CableCARD Deployments Top 50 Million

In its latest CableCARD report to the FCC, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said the nine largest incumbent U.S. cable operators have deployed more than 50 million of the security modules in MSO-supplied set-tops since the security integration ban took effect in July 2007. In comparison, those same operators have deployed just 623,000 CableCARDs in retail devices, including TiVo boxes and TVs with CableCARD slots.

Its previous report issued in July, the NCTA said those MSOs had deployed 48 million modules in operator-supplied boxes, and 620,000 in retail devices.

The NCTA used the latest report as an opportunity to post a blog reiterating its position that common reliance on the technology has been achieved and the FCC should end the integration ban, noting that the modules have cost consumers north of $1 billion in “unnecessary costs and waste 500 million kilowatts of energy each year.”

“So this rule isn’t protecting third party device makers, it’s really just a burden on cable providers and customers,” the NCTA argues.

TiVo sees it differently, and has argued that the mandate should stand in part to ensure that retail boxes can get access to the same services and features that leased boxes provide. TiVo, meanwhile, has struck an agreement with Comcast to develop a non-CableCARD retail set-top solution, with Comcast also agreeing to provide and support CableCARDs in retail device notwithstanding the D.C. Circuit’s EchoStar decision last year that vacated certain CableCARD rules.

A provision in the Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act seeks to eliminate the FCC’s integration ban, though it would aim to retain the FCC’s power to reinstate the ban on any successor to the CableCARD regime.

Public Knowledge, meanwhile, recently kicked off a Twitter campaign as it seeks to get the integration ban back into the bill before its must-passage by the end of the year.