On the same day the Senate Commerce Committee circulated a bill that would set the DTV transition hard date at April 7, 2009, a coalition of high tech CEO's wrote the House and Senate Committee leadership to call for a date "in no event later than Jan. 1, 2009."
Could a battle be brewing? Hardly. The date was more a rhetorical device than a line in the sand. Their point was essentially that they wanted a hard date set now that was feasable, though the sooner the better. April 7 seemed to fit the bill.
That is the date when broadcasters will cut off analog service and switch to digital. It is also the date new users like WiFi-enabled computer operators could start employing some of the spectrum broadcasters will be vacating (channels 52-69).
The CEOs, including Bill Gates of Microsoft, AT&T's David Dorman and Cisco's John Chambers, were pleased with the news that a date had been proposed.
"We're just happy they have moved forward with a date," said John Alden, spokesman for the High Tech DTV Coalition. "We support any date that they think is feasible," he said, suggesting his organization was not going to the mat over a mere three months.
“The completion of the DTV transition will free up spectrum that will provide tremendous opportunities to promote growth in the United States economy,” the CEOs wrote. “We encourage you to pass legislation that would complete the transition at the earliest possible date, but in no event later than Jan. 1, 2009.”
The spectrum being reclaimed—in the 700mHz band—is being auctioned for advanced wireless services, minus a set-aside for first responders.
Following is a list of all the CEOs who signed the letter:
Jim Breyer, Managing Partner, Accel Partners;
George Conrades, Executive Chairman, Akamai Technologies, Inc.;
Hubert de Pesquidoux, President and CEO, Alcatel North America;
Charles Townsend, President and CEO, Aloha Partners;
David Dorman, Chairman and CEO, AT&T;
Scott McGregor, President and CEO, Broadcom Corporation;
John Chambers, President and CEO, Cisco Systems;
Gerald W. Gallimore, General Manager, Citizens Telephone Cooperative, Inc.;
Dwight W. Decker, PhD, Chairman and CEO, Conexant Systems, Inc.;
Tom Crawford, President and CEO, Cyber-Ark Software, Inc.;
Kevin Rollins, President and CEO, Dell;
Christopher Greene, President and CEO, Greene Engineers;
Anthony Ley, Chairman, President and CEO, Harmonic, Inc.;
Craig R. Barrett, Chairman, Intel Corporation;
Paul Deninger, Chairman, Jefferies Broadview;
Mark J. Zanoli, Managing Director, Head of Technology Investment Banking, JPMorgan;
Bob Martin, President, Jumpstart Partners, CEO, Internet REIT LP;
Brian T. Keane, President and CEO, Keane, Inc.;
John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers;
Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation;
Ralph J. Folz, CEO, Molecular, Inc.;
Paul E. Jacobs, CEO, QUALCOMM;
Arthur Coviello, President and CEO, RSA Security, Inc.;
Robert Farnsworth, CEO, Sonnet Technologies;
Dean DeBiase, Chairman, Start-Up-Partners;
Aart de Geus, Chairman and CEO, Synopsys, Inc.;
Richard K. Templeton, President and CEO, Texas Instruments;
Robert Dotson, President and CEO, T-Mobile USA;
Matthew E. Massengill, Chairman and CEO, Western Digital Corporation;
Willem Roelandts, President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, Xilinx;
Robin L. Curle, President, CEO and Chairman, Zebra Imaging, Inc.