04.01.2005 08:00 AM
Lawmakers favor analog switchoff date certain

Speaking at the HDTV Summit in Washington, D.C., Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said it was time to set a date certain for analog switchoff.

Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, led a chorus of lawmakers at last month’s HDTV Summit in Washington, D.C., calling for a date certain for analog switchoff. Barton said he plans to introduce legislation by this summer to do just that.

The event, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, put broadcasters in the crosshairs of legislators as the major obstacle impeding the completion of the transition.

Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Fred Upton (R-MI) said he agreed with Barton. He and Barton have both proposed using a portion of the proceeds of an auction of returned spectrum to subsidize digital tuners for Americans unable to buy new DTV sets or tuners.

Speaking at the summit, Senator John Ensign (R-NV), chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, also called for a date certain for analog switchoff. He also called on attendees to educate their senators and representatives about the need for imposing a hard date for discontinuing analog TV service.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), former Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, also expressed his support for a firm switchoff deadline and for Barton’s proposed legislation.

In a response to critics at the summit, Association of Maximum Service Television President David Donovan said it was consumers blocking the transition, not broadcasters.

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