Border Stations Don't Get DTV Waiver

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Texas Republican Rep. Charles Gonzalez withdrew an amendment Wednesday that would have given U.S. TV stations within 50 miles of the Mexican border until 2015 to make the transition from analog to digital--the national hard date is expected to be in 2009.

His was one of many amendments offered during a House Commerce Committee markup of a DTV transition bill.

Gonzalez said that with so many Mexican stations reaching into the U.S., the largely Spanish-speaking U.S. border population will tend to tune to those stations rather than make the switch to digital.

That, he said, would put U.S. stations at a large competitive disadvantage, as well as put those Spanish-speaking U.S. viewers outside the U.S. emergency alert system.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, promised to work with Gonzales on the issue, perhaps by allocating the region more funds for public education about the transition.

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