President Yet To Sign DTV Date Move Bill

Broadcasters still required to inform FCC by midnight if planning to switch Feb. 17

At press time, the President had not yet signed the DTV date-move bill, according to a White House spokesperson.

Even so, broadcasters are required to let the FCC know by midnight tonight whether they are going to switch off their analog signal on Feb. 17, which has been the date for several years.

The House passed a bill last Wednesday (Feb. 4) to move the date to June 12 (the Senate had already passed it), but per his promise on most bills, President Barack Obama posted the bill on the White House Web site and gave the public five days to weigh in on it.

The FCC couldn't wait around for the signing ceremony, however the president has pledged to sign it, releasing its rules of the road for implementation last week, which included informing the commission by today of plans to go Feb. 17, which is now early.

Some stations have said that becuase of advance plans that can't be remade or the economics of continuing to deliver two signals, they will go ahead and pull the plug Feb. 17. The FCC and some members of Congress have encouraged broadcasters who can stay on to do so.

The money to help distribute millions of currently undistributed DTV-to-analog converter box subsidy coupons is in the economic stimulus package, which may not pass for several weeks.