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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Top leaders from across the cable landscape are urging the FCC to quickly eliminate the ban on basic tier encryption for all-digital cable systems. In a letter to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, chief executives from the nation's top cable operators said encryption prohibition is "prime" for repeal, and changes to the "bygone" rule would be in consumers' and the industry's best interest.

Of the group's qualms with the rule, by far the most egregious is that the ban on basic encryption only applies to cable. The letter says the practice was adopted when satellite TV was in its infancy, telcos were allowed to offer video services, and before any video was ever delivered over the internet.

The group said when the ban was implemented, cable was wholly an analog service and most subscribers could access a slew of channels without a set-top box. The cable consortium pointed to Cablevision's waiver of the rule and subsequent results from its test-run in New York City that "confirms very few customers will be impacted (as) fewer than .1% requested (encryption-access) equipment."

Further, the letter said lifting the ban will incentivize cable operators to adopt all-digital networks freeing up bandwidth for faster internet services, more HD channels and VOD options, and other services that today's consumers demand. The rule may have made sense 20 years ago, the group said, but "there is no valid basis for continuing to hold back cable innovation..."

Among those who signed the letter include: BendBroadband CEO Amy Tykeson, Bright House CEO Steve Miron, Cablevision CEO James Dolan, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge, Comcast CEO Neil Smit, Cox president Patrick Esser, Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso, Suddenlink CEO Jerald Kent and Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt. •

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