Martin Will Vote on Comcast Waiver By July 1


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says he will vote before July 1 on Comcast's petition for full-commission review of a bureau-level decision denying Comcast a waiver of the integrated set-top box ban, which goes into effect July 1.

Martin said the petition is available for any commissioner to vote on, and that it could be voted out today (June 14) if the other commissioners wanted to.

Comcast and other cable operators had asked the FCC to waive the July 1, 2007, deadline for the ban on digital set-tops that integrate the security and surfing functions so that the industry could continue to supply several low-cost integrated boxes, as well as the ones with separate CableCARD security. The industry also wants more time to develop and implement a downloadable security system that would be cheaper and easier than the current CableCARD hardware solution.

The Media Bureau had denied the waiver, saying it was time to implement the twice-delayed deadline, a sentiment echoed by Martin. He did not say which way he was voting.

There are other waiver requests that the FCC has yet to rule on a first time, much less on appeal, so the Comcast decision may not necessarily come before the July 1 deadlne.