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FCC Extends Set-Top Security Comment Deadlines

The FCC has extended the public comment period to Jan. 20, 2006, on how the cable industry might include some software-based security functions in its set-top boxes.

The FCC mandated that the access-control and navigation functions of set-tops be unbundled to help drive a retail market for boxes and other navigation devices in competition to the ones supplied by the cable company.

But the FCC also said that "some measure of anti-copying encryption technology located within a host navigation device is consistent with the Commission's navigation devices rules," and asked the industry to report on its feasibility

The industry weighed in Dec. 1 and the public and other interested parties had until Dec. 30 to respond.

Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, and ATI Technologies asked for the extension, siting the holidays and preparation for the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show the first week of January, as well as content-control meetings among those CES companies following the show.

The FCC, which regularly grants extensions around the holidays, concluded the extension was warranted.