CES: No Set-Top Waiver, Says Martin


Comcast isn't likely to get a waiver of the FCC's July 2007 deadline for requiring cable companies to separate the security and channel surfing functions of their digital cable boxes.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told a Consumer Electronics Association crowd that "there are a series of waivers in front of us. We shouldn't just provide a blanket waiver to the whole industry, at this point, to a rule that was adopted in 1998. Comcast is asking for further delay without giving a timetable on downloadable security," he said.

Asked after his speech whether that meant Comcast would not get its waiver, Martin said: "Yes, I think that's what I said."

Martin's message to cable operators: "It's time to move forward" with separating security. Martin noted that one-way cable cards are on the market, but said it was time to move toward two-way interactive functionality as well.

Asked about the status of the transition to DTV, which is scheduled to be completed by February 2009, Martin told B&C: "We'll do everything we can to help them [broadcasters]. Missing the date is not an option."