DTV Bill Slated for Revival

Look for last year's draft DTV bill to return to the attention of the House Commerce Committee. That's the message from the committee's counsel, Jessica Wallace, at the CEA's HDTV Summit in Washington, D.C.

But the provision seen by broadcasters as the most onerous--a hard date for the mandatory return of the analog spectrum, regardless of the prevalence of DTV tuners--will likely be removed, she said.

In a panel discussion, she didn't say where the committee, chaired by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), was heading on the issue of forced cable carriage of multicast digital signals. That item was left blank last year; Wallace said Tauzin was considering a variety of options.

On copy protection and the broadcast flag, she said both Tauzin and Commerce Committee ranking Democrat John Dingell (Mich.) agree that the FCC has the authority to implement the flag, despite the protests of some in Congress to the contrary.

The plan is introduce the bill after the late-April Easter recess and have it pass the House by August, she said.

"I don't think we need to wait for the industry to collapse," she said.