Following--or perhaps leading, depending on how you look at it--a cable industry trend, Zoom Telephonics has shipped its DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem to Best Buy, Micro Center and Staples stores for retail distribution. Even though the units have DOCSIS certification, the vendor waited until now to make certain they work with all MSOs.
At the least, consumers who buy Zoom modems save a monthly cable rental fee. At the most, they upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 services, probably ahead of an evergreen refresh from their local providers.
Retail, of course, is a hot issue these days as the cable industry goes back and forth with the FCC and opposing industry trade groups over the failed CableCard initiative. The FCC thought CableCards, which are inserted into set-top boxes and ostensibly some TVs to provide cable conditional access, would drive retail sales. Since only 1 percent of the subscribing public decided to go that way, the idea was a bust.
Now, consumer groups such as the CEA are asking that MSOs be required to provide more technical support for the devices. That idea doesn't wash with NCTA, which says only the CableCard, not the device itself, is the industry's responsibility.
"Retail equipment is ... the responsibility of the customer and the device manufacturer," the industry's lobbyists said in comments submitted to the FCC.
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