Kennard, Powell Join Call to Delay DTV Transition
Former FCC chairmen support moving Feb. 17 "hard date" in New York Times Op-Ed
By P.J. Bednarski -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/9/2009 4:38:00 AM
Former FCC chairmen William Kennard and Michael Powell have joined the growing chorus calling for the federal government to move the Feb. 17 DTV transition date.
In a jointly-written op-ed piece in Friday's edition of The New York Times, Kennard and Powell argue that there's not enough time to get DTV-to-analog converter box coupons to the people who still need them, and that the "government is also unprepared to handle the volume of calls from baffled television viewers once the switch to digital occurs." They also say there may be a shortage of set top boxes that could be severe—from 4 million to 31 million, they say.
Their comments concur with a rising chorus of nay-sayers, including the transition leaders for President-elect Obama, who on Thursday called for postponing the analog shutoff.
"There is no reason to rush toward a fiasco when we can just as well take the time to make sure the change happens smoothly," Kennard and Powell wrote.
Kennard, a Democrat, was chairman from 1997-1991, and Powell, a Republican, from 2001-2005.
Too much confusion will result if you delay now. This has been covered well in all the media to include TV. It will be very costly for small markets to continue to run two signals and some people will NEVER be ready no matter what!
Ron Evans - 1/12/2009 6:27:00 PM EST
Yes! Put it off another 30 and 1/2 months.
And, on August 1, 2011, we'll have this exact same discussion...."We didn't know about it", "Why are they rushing this through?", etc.
The postmortem on the Transition is going to be thorough. There's plenty of blame to go around. But, waiting until the rest of the world has converted isn't going to do any good. Let the other nations learn from our mistakes.
Ken English - 1/11/2009 3:13:00 PM EST
ADOPT CANADA'S AUG. 31, 2011 analog shut-off date. The extra 2-1/2 years will give gov't and industry more time to smooth out converter coupon and supply issues, signal footprint and repeater issues, consumer education and outreach -- and more digital sets will be in the field, reducing the overall need for converter boxes. Make any discount good toward a new digital set or antenna. Maybe an instant rebate, to cut out fulfillment costs. Only those who want to see the end of free, over the air TV can be happy with how this has gone. More: nowpublic.com/world/u-s-tvs-digital-deadline-obama-eras-first-consumer-crisis
Vic Livingston, columnist, NowPublic.com.scrivener - 1/9/2009 1:41:00 PM EST
Thismakes me soooo angry. I was responsible and got my coupons and converter, but instead of honoring those that did it on time you are once again "lowering the bar" for those who wait until the last minute.
G. G. - 1/9/2009 10:44:00 AM EST
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