Nagravision USA Granted Waiver For DTAs
Vendor Joins Five Others In Receiving Exemptions To Integrated Set-Top Ban

Todd Spangler -- , 10/2/2009 5:31:07 PM

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday granted the waiver request of Nagravision USA for low-cost, one-way digital set-tops that have embedded security functions, exempting the devices from the so-called integrated set-top ban.

Nagravision filed for the waiver in July, after the FCC granted Evolution Broadband a waiver for limited-function digital-to-analog devices, referred to in the industry as DTAs. The agency subsequently OK'd similar devices from Motorola, Cisco Systems, Pace and Thomson.

The waiver allows cable operators to deploy Nagravision USA's AC-N060PD2A-SC and AC-N060PD2A-SIM DTAs. According to the company, the devices -- produced by an original design manufacturing partner -- provide security on either a removable smart card (the "SC" model) or subscriber identity module card (the "SIM" version). The FCC order granting the waiver request is available here.

The FCC's integrated set-top ban requires cable operators to use CableCards in their own leased equipment, on the theory that CableCard-enabled TVs and DVRs purchased at retail will work better. The agency has approved waivers for limited-function DTAs, reasoning that "such devices will serve the public interest by furthering cable operators' migrations to all-digital networks (thereby increasing service offerings) and would not jeopardize the development of the competitive marketplace for navigation devices."

Nagravision, the conditional-access provider owned by Switzerland-based Kudelski Group, works with more than 30 set-top vendors worldwide, including ADB, EchoStar, Pace and Thomson.

More DTAs could be cleared in the weeks ahead. Evolution this week filed a waiver request covering three more DTAs, as well as an HD-capable device. Chinese networking manufacturer Huawei Technologies also seeks a waiver for two low-cost cable devices.