FCC puts cable on table for April 21 meeting

The FCC's April 21 meeting will have a definite cable flavor as the Commission is tentatively scheduled to look at the current and future state of CableCards as well as its inquiry into requiring all TV providers to adopt Internet video gateways.

It's all tied in, somehow, to the National Broadband Plan where the Commission suggested that all pay TV providers deploy a gateway or its equivalent by Dec. 31, 2012. The goal is to let third party consumer electronics access TV programming using standalone IP interfaces.

The plan also was critical of cable's set-top duopoly of Motorola and Cisco which, over the years have morphed from General Instrument and Scientific-Atlanta. That's where the CableCard comes in. It hasn't been a roaring success and set-tops are still everywhere. It's likely that the meeting will give the FCC an open opportunity to ask the big question, "Why?"

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