FCC Seeks Input on DTV Consumer Education

August 3, 2007
In the better late than never department, the FCC this week said it was seeking public comments on ways to educate consumers about the DTV transition.

In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the commission seems to be acknowledging its responsibility in the consumer education element of the DTV transition. In recent months, there had been some debate over who should accept responsibility for such initiatives. As recently as last spring, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told Congress that he thought the NTIA, which is in charge of administering the government's plan to distribute coupons to purchase low-cost digital converters to consumers with analog-only TV sets, was in charge of the consumer education effort. Martin said the commission had requested funding for the FCC to conduct such a campaign in the past. Several key Congressmen including Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) responded to the chairman in a June letter notifying Martin such efforts were indeed under the purview of the FCC.

In the NPRM, the commission is asking for comment on proposals that would outline the timing, logistics and benefits of the DTV transition to consumers, including:

• Broadcaster public service announcements, other consumer education requirements, and reporting,
• Notices in cable, satellite and other MVPD bills,
• Notices from consumer electronics manufacturers,
• Employee training by consumer electronics retailers, and
• Adjustments to the DTV.gov partners program

Check the August 22 issue of TV Technology for more details.

Receive regular news and technology updates.
Sign up for our free newsletter here.