NCTA takes aim at Public Knowledge's cloud-based AllVid proposal

In an ongoing battle of ex parte filings with the FCC, the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has taken aim at a Dec. 3 proposal submitted by Public Knowledge for a cloud-based version of AllVid.

Public Knowledge's proposal called for a cloud-based version of the technology standard, which would not require a device to be placed in residential homes. In its response to the FCC delivered Monday, the NCTA attempted to label this approach as infeasible. 

"Public Knowledge suggests that consumers can merely rely on their DOCSIS modem to access MVPD service on their AllVid-compatible retail devices," the NCTA said. "As a threshold matter, such an approach would only apply to cable operators that use DOCSIS, rather than applying to all MVPDs. Furthermore, implementing such an approach would require massive changes in the MVPD's network architecture."

AllVid is one of several proposals put forth by the FCC's Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC), which was set up to find a new technology that would enable retail set-top devices to work in the pay-TV ecosystem.

Led by the NCTA, the cable industry is lobbying hard against the adoption of AllVid, which would place some sort of yet-to-be-developed, government-mandated device in between the cable headend and a retail set-top. The device would essentially decode the encrypted cable signal for the retail device.

"MVPDs would have to create a second (rather than a 'virtual') headend to deliver AllVid-compatible video, and divert bandwidth to accommodate this duplicate video traffic. Such an outcome would conflict with the very conclusion that AllVid proponents – and others – told the FCC by consensus in the final DSTAC Report: 'It should not be necessary to disturb the potentially multiple present and future security and other network technology choices made by cable, DBS and IPTV systems'; and 'It is not reasonable to expect that all operators will re-architect their networks in order to converge on a common solution.' " 

The NCTA added: "Public Knowledge claims that AllVid would not be a technology mandate because it would not require 'any specific hardware.' In fact, each version of the ever-changing AllVid proposal calls for FCC rules that would define requirements for MVPDs to modify their networks and/or deploy new in-home boxes to deliver unbundled access to the piece parts of their service from which CE and tech companies could create their own service offering." 

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