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Congressman secures funding for New York City broadcasters

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) got House Republicans to approve an amendment to DTV legislation that would provide $30 million to New York City to assist in the DTV transition.

Engel said New York City broadcasters have already spent $60 million for improvements at the Empire State Building to handle the additional weight and electrical power necessary to house their transmitters. The amendment would help alleviate some of the burden and ensure that New Yorkers’ TVs won’t go dark in 2009, he said.

The Engel Amendment had bipartisan support from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). However, the amendment must survive a House-Senate conference committee before it can become law.

New York City broadcasters have decided to install digital transmission antennas on the proposed new Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site. However, the Freedom Tower project has been repeatedly delayed and is not expected to be complete before 2010.

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