Powerful Legislators Ask President To Create DTV Task Force
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/12/2008 8:59:00 AM
Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) have asked the president to create an inter-agency DTV task force.
In a letter to the president released Tuesday, the chairmen of the Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee, respectively, said that the FCC should lead the task force, which should concentrate on educating consumers about the DTV transition. The pair cited a GAO study that concluded the DTV transition/education effort lacks coordination.
The other major player is the National Telecommunicaitons & Information Administration
"A coordinated federal effort to oversee the DTV transition is essential," they wrote, and asked the president ot establish the task force "immediately."
Neither FCC Chairman Kevin Martin nor the head of the NTIA, first John Kneuer and now Meredith Baker, have backed earlier calls for a task force, arguing the two agencies are communicating, and that a government command and control overseer might not be suited to an operation that needed to be flexible and responsive to differing constituencies.
The FCC even released its own response to the GAO report, pointing out that it had been preparing for the transition for two decades.
It is Broadcasters best interest to educate the public and I think stations and the NAB are stepping up to do that. I think the government should concentrate on issues raised by the Centris report, availability of converter boxes and their ability to pass analog signals for LPTV's and translators, and for the FCC to process applications of stations that face technical difficulties in replicating their analog service area.
If we can't guarantee signal coverage to existing analog viewers, all the education in the world about DTV will do no good.
Jim Corbin - 2/13/2008 7:49:00 AM EST
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