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FCC Looking for TV Installers to Help in DTV Transition

The FCC announced Thursday that it is soliciting bids for DTV transition assistance as part of its consumer outreach and support effort. This is the first of three solicitations and the simplest, involving only basic digital-to-analog converter box installation services to specific populations most in need of assistance, including low-income consumers, minority communities, non-English speaking consumers, senior citizens, consumers living in rural areas or on tribal lands, and consumers with disabilities.

The Statement of Work lists the following in-home installations services:

  • • Connecting up to two of a household's existing coupon-eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes to existing broadcast antenna(s) and analog TVs;
  • • Providing a basic level of orienting/reorienting the household's antenna(s) and
  • • Scanning /rescanning the converter box(es) in order to receive digital broadcast TV stations in the area and;
  • • Providing basic guidance to the consumer on the operation of their converter box(es).

Contractors are required to communicate information about their availability and hours of the basic D/A converter box installation services to local broadcasters, locally-assigned FCC employees, the FCC call center, and targeted population groups. The contractor must also respond to requests from individuals, FCC employees, broadcast stations, community groups, and elected officials to provide basic in-home installation services.

Visit the New FCC DTV Support Opportunities Web page for copies of the scope of work and information on how to apply. The site currently has information on the basic in-home installation assistance programs in each of six regions—Pacific, West Central Region, Southwest, Southeast, East Central and Northeast.

Friday morning the FCC announced hundreds of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) will work with the FCC to assist individuals that may have difficulty making the switch to DTV. NCCC and the FCC will focus on groups targeted for special attention. Teams of 8 to 12 AmeriCorps NCCC members will serve under the guidance of FCC area coordinators and work side-by-side with the many FCC employees who have volunteered to work in communities throughout the country. Denver is the test market for NCCC participation. The FCC will begin training members there next week in advance of many Denver TV stations shutting off analog broadcasting in April.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.