FCC Outlines Help Center Rules

April 13, 2009
The FCC last week issued new rules clarifying broadcasters' requirements for staffing and publicizing DTV help centers required by the DTV Delay Act.

Walk-in DTV help centers will have to be open and staffed from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In the two weeks before the June 12 shutoff deadline and for seven calendar days on and after that date, each center will have to be open every day at least from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

Each center will need to have at least one analog television, one digital-to-analog converter box, one VCR or other recording device (to demonstrate how to hook-up such devices in conjunction with a digital-to-analog converter box), and one antenna on hand and able to receive local broadcast stations at the site. A display area for printed literature regarding the digital-to-analog converter box coupon program must be available, connection guides for digital-to-analog converter boxes, guides for antenna and reception issues, DTV publications for those with disabilities, and local broadcast station coverage maps are also required.

At least one DVD player with a separate viewing device will need to be available so consumers can watch educational videos regarding converter box installations, antennas, reception, and coverage issues. Also, a minimum of one computer with a high speed Internet connection will be required so consumers can apply online for converter box coupons and access other DTV transition information. Centers must also provide a local or toll-free phone number so that consumers can call to inquire about location(s) and days and hours of operation.

At least one individual will need to be onsite during office hours, who has been trained and who can demonstrate how to install a digital-to-analog converter box with an analog TV, a VCR or other recording device, and a broadcast antenna, and how to adjust the antenna for maximum reception. The individual must also be able to demonstrate how to operate the converter box, including scanning and rescanning for digital channels and the use of closed captioning features.

For additional information, contact Lyle Elder of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, 202-418-2120, or Eloise Gore of the Media Bureau, 202-418-7200.

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