09.28.2007 12:00 AM
U.S. Gets ‘F’ in DTV Transition Program
According to a recently released survey sponsored by the Association of Public Televisions (APTS), the government’s efforts to move the nationwide digital television transition along deserves failing marks.

The survey indicated that approximately 55 percent of both consumers who are aware of the transition program, and those who were not aware, said that the government is on “the wrong track.”

“The federal government mandated the transition to digital but has failed to make the case to the American public for the decision,” said John Lawson, APTS president and CEO. “The government has a vested interest in increasing consumer awareness. Our survey found that almost 22 percent of Americans who are aware of the transition say that the government is on the ‘right track,’ compared with just 7 percent of those who are unaware. The government must devote real resources to raise awareness and make their case to avoid a voter backlash in February 2009.”

The director of the physical infrastructure issues within the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Mark Goldstein, also underscored the lack of federal government preparedness to educate the public about DTV matters. He provided testimony at a Sept. 17 hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

“Despite the efforts currently underway and those being planned, difficulties remain in the implementation of consumer education programs,” Goldstein said in his testimony. “While private sector organizations are conducting outreach efforts, these actions are voluntary and therefore the government cannot be assured of the extent of private sector efforts.”

The APTS survey polled 1,153 households in August and was conducted by the Centris research firm in Fort Washington, Pa.

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