[opendtv] News: White House Seeks to Speed DTV Switch

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 08:27:29 -0500


White House Seeks to Speed DTV Switch

Bill McConnell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/1/2004 6:52:00 PM

President Bush has ordered the Commerce Department to establish a 
private-sector advisory committee to help the federal government keep 
the digital-TV transition on track and to resolve other tricky 
telecommunications issues, such as promoting nationwide, affordable 
access to high-speed Internet service.

The White House dictate was included in a Spectrum Policy Initiative 
unveiled Tuesday. Formation of the committee was among the 
recommendations suggested in a two-part report issued by the Commerce 
Department in June.

Although the FCC has said it will be hard to complete the switch to 
all-digital TV before 2009, the White House still insists that the 
Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration try to wrap it up by Dec. 31, 2006, the government's 
target date for reclaiming old analog channels. (Few expect that date 
to be met because stations aren't required to give up the channels 
until 85% of their markets are equipped to receive digital 
programming, which could take many more years to reach.) The 
reclaimed channels will be doled out, in part, to local fire, police 
and other public-safety departments.

To facilitate that transfer, the White House also asked the FCC to 
consider requiring stations to participate in a voluntary 
coordination system, also known as CAPRAD, which is administered by 
the National Institute of Justice.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Telecommunications 
Subcommittee, applauds the White House proposals. "President Bush's 
spectrum initiative is exactly the right prescription at the right 
time for our nation," he says. "It is essential that we have the 
proper spectrum-management plans and policies in place for our 
economic well-being and so that we can continue to see further growth 
and development of wireless technologies."
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