FCC Grants Blanket Waiver to Integration Ban


The FCC has pretty much cancelled today’s integration ban by granting waivers to anyone that goes all digital by Feb. 17, 2009.

The FCC’s Media Bureau today:

Granted an Omnibus Waiver of the integration ban for MVPDs currently all digital or going all digital by February 17, 2009. An all-digital conversion will facilitate the DTV transition, enable expanded service offerings, promote efficient use of the spectrum, deliver broadband services, spur competitive entry, and expand universal service.


Looks like those DT TiVoes could turn into ST TiVoes in less than two years.

The FCC’s decision, which effectively pushes the transition to digital further along, needs to be factored into any thinking on how the commission will handle transitional issues for consumers – ie. “viewable signal,” etal.

There are now so many loopholes to the Integration Ban that it is effectively dead. Smaller operators are being given leniency if they demonstrate they have placed orders for the CC based boxes.

the FCC granted Guam Cablevision a limited waiver until Dec. 31, 2009, citing its “typhoon-prone location” and noting that the island has faced “extraordinary devastation” in recent years.

By issuing this blanket waiver, most of the ill effects that the CC based boxes would have caused are eliminated. By 2009, two way CC or OCAP could be in place, making competitive CE devices viable. Indeed the FCC is looking for a way to get CE devices to market for XMAS ’08.

Any cable co. can declare it is going all digital, and what is the FCC going to do when some don’t meet the deadline? The FCC will extend the deadline, or grant individual waivers on hardship grounds. And of course, Feb 2009 can always turn into Aug 2010.  😉


4 Responses to “FCC Grants Blanket Waiver to Integration Ban”

  1. HDTiVo Says:

    Martin said:

    “The two-way rulemaking that the Commission began today will further spur the creation of a competitive set-top box market. I look forward to seeing greater progress between the cable industry and the consumer electronics industry on developing a two-way standard that would ensure that subscribers who do not wish to rely on set-top boxes provided by their cable operators can access two-way, as well as one-way, cable services. ”

    It looks like the FCC will be heading towards a two-way solution to the competitive STB challenge and avoiding the one-way fiasco.


  2. HDTiVo Says:

    It looks like the all digital waiver may not be as broad as was reported in Multichannel News and implied in the FCC’s Press Release.

    Unfortunately, that means the pointless use of CC boxes will go forward to a great extent, and it means nothing for the move to a two-way standard.

  3. HDTiVo Says:


    Furthermore it doesn’t further incent the major operators to go all digital, potentially leaving a large portion of the population with older cable service longer than otherwise.

  4. What’s happening? « HDTiVo Blog Says:

    […] Comcast is putting some heat on the FCC for maybe getting a little capricious with those waivers. […]

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