With Jul 4 week now behind us, the fallout from the Jul 1 CableCARD deadline continues to rain down upon the cable industry. And it increasingly appears that AT&T and Verizon deftly dodged the FCC‘s bullet—even as cable took it right between the eyes. Not only did both telcos avoid a separable security mandate (AT&T by convincing the feds that its IPTV model should be treated differently than cable; Verizon by promising the FCC to go all-digital and riding that "new entrant" moniker), but now cable’s starting to voice its anger at the whole process. In a Jul 3 ex parte letter posted Fri by the FCC, Comcast (through counsel Willkie Farr & Gallagher) challenged the agency’s justification that non-integrated boxes aren’t designed to work with the telcos’ IPTV-, ATM- or hybrid QAM/IP-based systems. "At least with respect to Verizon, this claim is preposterous," stated the ex parte, noting that Verizon "knew full well what its obligations were under the Commission’s rules… and yet apparently did nothing over the last three years to get boxes with separate security developed." It also questioned "the integrity of the waiver process" following the disclosure of Verizon’s apparent last-minute promise to go all digital by Feb 17, ’09: "Curiously, Verizon finally made that commitment in an ex parte filed with the Commission on June 29, 2007—the very same day it received its waiver grant." Meanwhile, Comcast also raised the larger issue of why certain video providers are getting waivers while other operators are not—even though the waiver requests are very similar in many cases. "In short, the Commission must explain why it’s discriminating in favor of the customers of certain MVPDs at the expense of customers of other MVPDs," it stated.

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