Snowstorm Derails DSTAC Meeting

The first step toward the development of a successor to the much-maligned CableCARD will have to wait.

A winter storm that dropped about four inches of snow in the Washington, D.C., area has caused the U.S. government to close all federal offices in the area on Tuesday, a move that also cancelled what was to be the first meeting of an FCC-appointed committee tasked with exploring and making recommendations for a “platform-neutral, software-based” downloadable security system aimed at replacing the CableCARD and promoting the competitive availability of set-tops and other MVPD-compatible  video devices. 

That group, called the Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), was scheduled to hold its first meeting today at 10 a.m. ET.

An FCC official confirmed that the meeting was indeed cancelled and that a new date for that meeting has not yet been decided. When the FCC announced it was seeking nominations for the DSTAC in December, it anticipated that the group would meet in Washington, D.C., for full-day meetings once per month, at least through September.  The committee must file a report with the Commission by September 4, 2015.

The FCC recently appointed a group of 18 execs and specialists from companies and organizations that include Comcast, Public Knowledge, AT&T, TiVo, Amazon, Evolution Digital and the Motion Picture Association of America.  The DSTAC was formed soon after the STELAR Act became law on Dec. 5, 2014, activating a provision that will sunset the FCC’s current ban on set-tops with integrated security after a year.

Last week, Beyond Broadband Technology (BBT), which is not on the committee, offered to give the DSTAC a “full technical briefing” on a downloadable security platform that has been developed by a cable-backed group that has historically been focused on smaller, independent MVPDs.