09.13.2004 04:25 PM
FCC’s Powell wants hard DTV transition by 2009

The pressure for a hard DTV transition continued to build last week as FCC Chairman Michael Powell pushed an FCC speed-up plan before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Powell and the FCC are advocating a 2009 deadline for return of the analog spectrum, while proposed legislation would set the spectrum-return date for channels in the 700MHz band to Jan. 1, 2007.

Powell testified that a nationwide, hard date for the end of the DTV transition would benefit everyone. He said that, right now, the commission has no clear idea when the transition will be over in any particular market, and no clear idea how the commission is supposed to count TV households towards the 85 percent threshold.

Powell said that many broadcasters suggest counting every television set in American households. That however would extend the transition for decades. With a date certain, public safety officials and advanced wireless providers waiting for broadcasters to vacate the 700MHz band would know when they will be able to begin operations, he said.

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