Advanced Television

FCC: don't delay DTV

January 13, 2009

Postponing the Feb. 17 date for broadcasters to turn off their analogue signals will create more problems than it solves, said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Martin said the shortage in funding for digital converter boxes was a problem that needed to be fixed quickly, and said he agreed with ongoing efforts to free up federal funds to distribute more vouchers to consumers under the NTIA’s digital converter box programme.

“There are a variety of things that Congress can do to make coupons flow to consumers,” said Martin, noting that options including freeing up more money by removing the Anti-Deficiency Act restriction or waiving the 90-day expiration date on coupons. But after a multi-pronged effort to alert consumers to the Feb. 17 date, postponing it now will create consumer confusion and make it hard for the government to sound credible when it selects a new date in the future.

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