Letter exchanges in FCC’s DSTAC

The FCC DSTAC Committee was created to define downloadable security as a replacement for CableCard. Only there is disagreement as to the scope. The MVPDs (cable, satellite and IPTV providers) want to keep their service offer preserved as one package under their UI (no service “disaggregation”). Device makers and proponents of alternative service models see things more broadly and are of the view that individual service elements should be presentable and searchable by other UIs etc. (called “service theft” by the MVPDs).  Both have written letters (see here and here) to outline their positions to the DSTAC chairman.

Given that the cable card mandate will dissolve end 2015 the MVPDs are not under pressure. If the committee is to deliver (significant) recommendations to the FCC by September 4 it will be a tall order to define a truly open system given the MVPD opposition.

History is also on the side of the MVPDs. They “prevailed” in their strategy to effectively monopolize the user interface used to access their services (as an integrated offer) so far; starting back in 2003 with POD. The only thing that has seriously dented that has been the rise of smartphones, tablets and PCs – though MVPDs have been able to promulgate their service access UI to those devices now. And maybe analogously an open network infrastructure and competition in service offers (e.g. OTT) will be more effective than more regulation on proprietary networks. Which does not mean downloadable security does not have a place: the more open the service market the more important the role of downloadable security could be.

Source: Group to FCC: Avoid ‘Walled-Garden’ Approach to Video | Multichannel