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NCTA: AllVid Should Not Mean Unbundling

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, along with other cable, telco and satellite industry representatives, met with top FCC staffers Monday to warn them against using the AllVid notice of inquiry as a means of forced unbundling via set-top.

The FCC is looking to create a gateway device that weds over-the-air, over-the-wire and over-the-top video as a way to drive broadband adoption, for one thing, but it could also potentially be used to disaggregate content and threaten the business model of those whose business is to aggregate and deliver.

According to an ex parte filing supplied by NCTA, the cable and telco operators pointed out in their
meeting that some parties weighing in at the commission have suggested functionalities that would,
according to NCTA, "convert MVPDs into wholesalers of programming for reuse and repackaging by retail equipment providers."

According to NCTA, those commenters include the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Public Knowledge, Google, and Sony.

NCTA and company warned there were legal as well as technical and business issues involved that would undermine their business. They also advised that until various technical, statutory, Constitutional, contractual and intellectual property issues are cleared up related to the proceeding as a whole, it would be premature to proceed with rules. That is in contrast to device manufacturers. In a meeting last week, CEA urged the commission to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking "expeditiously."

Also at the FCC meeting were representatives of the American Cable Association, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, AT&T, and Verizon.

The FCC solicited comment in the notice last April. It is looking to come up with a gateway device by the end of 2012. The commission sees it as a successor to the CableCARD regime, which it is simultaneously trying to preserve in the interim.