NCTA Says Now is No Time to Change Low-Cost Waivers for Set-Tops

Filing supports three-year waiver of FCC's set-top ban

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association reminded the FCC Thursday that it has "long recognized" that waivers for low-cost, limited function set-tops were in the public interest and this is no time to change that policy.

That came in a filing supporting a recent three-year waiver of the FCC's integrated set-top ban for Evolution Broadband and opposing an effort by a half-dozen groups to try and block the waiver.

In opposing the waiver, Public Knowledge and others argued that it had "opened the floodgates to similar requests that, together, threaten to "lock consumers into low-cost, low-function set-tops that would frustrate both consumers and the intent of Congress."

After Evolution got its waiver, Cisco and Motorola filed their own requests within days, followed by Pace and Thomson.

But NCTA argues there is nothing in the Evolution order that breaks with "well-established" policy, and nothing surprising about the companies who followed suit with their own requests.

"The commission specifically invited the filing of such requests and established a streamlined process," NCTA said in its filing, adding that the competition will keep prices low and won't threaten a retail market in the devices that is "developing around devices with more advanced capabilities."