Digital Coalition Pitches Priorities

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The Coalition for a Smart Digital TV Transition says that such a transition requires 1) a means-test government subsidy of analog-to-digital converter boxes, 2) mandatory cable carriage of all free broadcaster multicast channels; and 3) a government-funded consumer outreach and education.

That's according to a letter the coalition sent to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday. The group is made up of unions and the broadcast network affiliate associations.

"[B]because these issues directly and disproportionately impact a large number of senior citizens, minority and rural consumers," said the group, "they must be resolved prior to the Committee’s final vote on this subject."

The House is currently drafting a DTV transition bill. The Senate is also working on a telecommunications bill. Senator Ted Stevens, co-chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked for input on that bill from colleagues and others before the July 4 recess. A spokeswoman for the coalition says it plans soon to send a similar letter to the Senate side.

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