Commission moves to remedy CableCARD shortcomings, promote consumer choice

The FCC last week issued a Third Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (Third R&O) to promote consumer choice when it comes to accessing cable TV service.

The Third R&O also updates commission rules to encourage consumers to connect their cable boxes to home networks and to ease regulations on cable operators that are modernizing their systems.

The rules promote a competitive retail market for devices that can access cable video services. Today, most digital cable subscribers lease set-top boxes from their cable providers. Although the commission’s CableCARD regime has made it possible for manufacturers to develop devices that consumers can buy to access cable services, the regiment hasn’t lived up to expectations.

Adoption of the Third R&O remedies the CableCARD regime’s shortcomings by:

• ensuring retail devices have access to all video programming that is prescheduled by a programming provider;

• making CableCARD pricing and billing more transparent;

• streamlining CableCARD installations; and

• streamlining requirements for manufacturers who build CableCARD devices.