Charter and Advance/Newhouse lost their appeal to overturn an FCC order requiring cable operators to only deploy set-top boxes with a CableCARD or similar external security element after July 1. Now, the cable industry is hanging its hopes on 2 pending petitions at the FCC to eliminate the ban for low-cost boxes, or delay the ban until 2009 or until a less expensive downloadable security solution is available. "It’s unfortunate that the court didn’t act to spare consumers the enormous cost of the integration ban," a Charter spokeswoman said of the US Court of Appeals in D.C.’s Fri ruling. "However, the court relied in part on the FCC’s promise to consider granting waivers for low-cost set-top boxes and eliminating or delaying the ban in light of cable’s progress on downloadable security." NCTA took a similar stance, pointing to the court’s observation that cable progress on downloadable security "may moot this entire controversy." Of course, CEA was positively giddy about the court’s denial. CEA’s interpretation: the opinion cites overwhelming evidence of cable’s refusal to support consumers with CableCARDs. "The District Court finally said ‘enough is enough,’" CEA pres/CEO Gary Shapiro said.