ACA joins NCTA in seeking to shoot down FCC's AllVid proposal

The American Cable Association joined the NCTA in urging the FCC to abandon a controversial proposal for integrating AllVid pay-TV security tech to support set-tops sold at retail stores.

ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka called the FCC's AllVid proposal "ill-advised and unnecessary," mirroring rhetoric made by the National Cable Telecommunications Association in its reply comments to the agency.

AllVid is one of several integrated security proposals made over the summer by the FCC's Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC). This committee was set up by a mandate from Congress to look for new technologies that could enable set-tops made by consumer electronics companies to be sold at retail stores and integrated into the pay-TV ecosystem.

AllVid would require the development of an intermediary device that would be placed somewhere on an operator's network. It would decode the secure signals of operators, allowing consumers to use a device other than a set-top they lease from their cable operator to access their operator's video service.

AllVid, Polka said, "cannot be implemented with existing technology and requires the development of dozens of new standards and protocols, would place undue burdens on MVPDs by imposing onerous mandates that would not only require significant effort to implement technically, but also wreak havoc on MVPDs' ability to meet their existing legal and regulatory obligations."

Companies including Google and TiVo support the AllVid approach.

Like the NCTA, Polka is advocating the deployment of an app-based solution -- also proposed by the DSTAC -- that would cover a broad range of devices. This solution, he said, is already being realized through the proliferation of multiscreen apps from operators and programmers. 

"It allows MVPDs to evolve and innovate at their own pace and in response to consumer demand, rather than requiring the rapid re-architecture of networks that would be devastating for smaller, less-sophisticated MVPDs," Polka said of the apps-based approach. 

The ACA's reply comments come as powerful Congressional forces coalesce to push the FCC to adopt one of its DSTAC proposals. 

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has joined the Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to champion retail competition for pay-TV set-tops.

Their most recent letter to the FCC on the topic also included signatures from Sens. Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Cory Booker, Maria Cantwell and Elizabeth Warren. 

For more:
- read this ACA announcement

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