FLO Forum Completes Open Conditional Access Framework

The FLO Forum, a body of more than 90 global wireless industry companies dedicated to the open standardization of FLOTM (forward link-only technology for mobile multimedia broadcast), has completed the Open Conditional Access (OpenCA) Key Management System Framework, creating a standards-based environment that enables multiple vendors to implement content security systems within the FLO architecture.

The OpenCA framework provides a standard interface for CA systems to interoperate, so that FLO network operators do not become dependent on a particular vendor, according to FLO Forum. Instead, they can replace an entire CA system seamlessly with another system, or run multiple systems concurrently in a "Simulcrypt" setting. This provides operators with increased flexibility in response to new security demands or business model requirements and enables content providers to offer wider choices without the risk of piracy.

The OpenCA framework was an initiative driven by the FLO Forum membership. Three European FLO Forum — Irdeto, Nagravision and NDS — were instrumental in authoring and contributed via the FLO Forum's Content & Services and Technical Committees. Other members including Newport Media, Verimatrix and Widevine Technologies also contributed to the review and approval of the framework.

"Content security is a fundamental requirement for all digital TV services and its effectiveness in mobile TV will be under close scrutiny as the market expands," said Charles Lo, chairman of the FLO Forum Technical Committee. "Flexible, secure conditional access systems will be key not only in assuring revenues for operators, but also in encouraging content owners to offer high quality content — which, in turn, will drive consumer uptake. As such, the OpenCA framework is a crucial step in ensuring a secure and profitable future for all parties within the FLO ecosystem — from CA vendors, to operators, to content owners."

"In an industry where there are multiple standards, not all of which are fully positioned, it is critical for organizations like the FLO Forum to provide this kind of clarity," said Doug Lowther, vice president of sales and marketing at Irdeto.