Cable operators large and small are protesting the FCC’s decision to deny a request, filed by Comcast, for waiver of a July 1 deadline by which the cable industry is expected to comply with FCC rules that prohibit the integration of cable security devices with set-top boxes. In accordance with the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC adopted rules in 1998 that require cable operators to offer subscribers separable security cards that they can plug into set-top boxes, digital cable-ready televisions and other devices that would work on any cable system. Since its original 2005 compliance deadline, the FCC has twice extended implementation of the rules, which are intended to spur innovation and competition in the consumer electronics and multichannel video industries. Although the FCC granted waiver requests filed by Cablevision and by Bend Cable Communications, a small regional operator, based on their use or pursuit of alternative methods (such as downloadable security solutions) to comply with the rules, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin asserted in a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday that “the Commission needs to move forward.” Although the Consumer Electronics Association praised the FCC’s decision, Comcast vowed to seek review, charging: “millions of American consumers won’t have the opportunity to enter the age of digital television easily and affordably.” Warning that small cable operators will be hard hit financially, the American Cable Association (ACA) said that, “without the waivers requested by ACA members and other cable companies, millions of consumers will . . . be forced to pay significantly higher rates to receive the same service they receive today.”