CableCARDs are becoming the topic du jour, with even the NY Times writing about them Mon. The Times piece concludes that the removable conditional-access technology has stalled, "the victim of conflicting business interests, manufacturing costs and a lack of consumer response." CableCARDS are meant to help CE manufacturers sell products at retail that don’t need cable boxes. NCTA weighed in at the FCC last week, with a 46-page report refuting CEA accusations that the cable industry is largely to blame for problems with the cards. "Both the CE and cable industries need to step up to the plate, acknowledge that each industry has responsibilities for making [unidirectional digital cable-ready products] work properly with CableCARDs and that neither industry can shirk its responsibility nor blame the other for all of the problems that may arise with UDCPs," NCTA said. Meanwhile, Comcast continues to press the FCC to exempt some low-cost digital set-tops from a July 1, 2007 deadline that requires all new boxes to have a CableCARD or a removable conditional access system. On Fri, Comcast issued a filing at the FCC noting the support of multiple parties, including several CE makers. The Assoc of Public TV Stations is also on Comcast’s side, saying it’ll help with the digital transition. CEA objects to Comcast’s request.

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C-band Auction Concludes

The C-band auction officially came to a close Friday after 97 rounds of bidding that grossed just under $81bln, cementing its place as the highest-grossing spectrum auction held in the US. FCC chairman Ajit

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