Thanks, but we’d like a little more. So says Adams Cable Equipment‘s petition for reconsideration of an FCC Media Bureau order that granted it a limited, conditional waiver of the ban on set-tops with integrated security for its refurbished boxes ( Cfax , 7/29). The vendor applauded the waiver, but wants the FCC to rethink its decision to limit it to the 50K boxes currently in ACE’s inventory.

"Given that the Bureau concluded that consumers would benefit from access to 50,000 low-cost set-top boxes, then it follows that consumer benefit could at least quadruple if the Bureau extends ACE’s waiver to permit it to resell an additional 150,000 refurbished set-top boxes," ACE said in the petition filed Fri and published on the FCC’s Website Mon.

The Media Bureau restricted the number of exempted refurbished boxes to assure that reliance on CableCARDs is not undermined ( CEA andTiVo both raised concerns about the waiver). ACE wants the limit to be upped to 200K boxes that can be sold to cable ops, and it doesn’t want any limit on the number of refurbished integrated boxes that it can sell directly to consumers (Right now, the 50K applies to both MSOs and consumers).

ACE argues that allowing the sale of 200K boxes to cable ops would not even put the "slightest dent" in common reliance, noting ops have deployed more than 40mln STBs that rely on CableCARDS. What’s more, expanding the waiver to 200K boxes would greatly reduce the price consumers would pay for the boxes, the vendor said. If ACE could buy additional integrated security boxes "stranded" at MSOs, it could reduce the current $299 price for retail DVRs to $199 or less and its lowest-cost set-top to $29 from about $50.

The Daily


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