FCC waives FiOS set-tops

IPTVs were not expected to be covered by a federal directive to remove encryption from set-top boxes, but regulations issued Friday codify their exemption. Verizon's FiOS TV was among several companies that received a waiver from the so-called "integration ban" that went into effect Sunday.

The impetus of the ban was to allow people to buy cable TV set-top boxes at retail stores, so the encryption technology that allowed access to cable channels could not be "integrated" into the box. Before FiOS left the drawing board, cable operators agreed to put encryption onto an SDI-like enclosure--a CableCard--that would plug into compliant devices.

Verizon received a waiver based on its argument that FiOS is just getting off the ground, and the based on the nature of its set-tops, the integration ban could bring deployment to a screeching halt.

Verizon huzzahed over the ruling, the cable industry hissed and few if any set-top boxes appeared at stores.

Just two years after launch, FiOS TV has amassed 500,000 subscribers in 12 states, and David Fish told Fierce that "we're close to serving other planets, and we believe Pluto is a planet." Such areas are not currently under FCC jurisdiction.

For further details on the integration ban waiver, check:
- the FCC order

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