The FCC voted unanimously to allow cable companies such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to encrypt basic services, Bloomberg reported. Prior to the ruling issued late Friday, cable companies encrypted premium cable programming but were barred from scrambling basic channels so consumers would not be forced to rent set-top boxes to watch local TV stations. The cable companies contended that encryption prevents theft and reduces service calls. Satcasters DirecTV and Dish and telco-delivered services from Verizon and AT&T have been exempt from the ban on basic-tier encryption. The cable industry said the ban cost providers almost $5 billion in lost revenue from viewers obtaining signals illegally. Encryption and set-top boxes allow cable companies to start and stop service remotely without sending a technician.
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