House approves legislation setting end date for analog transmission

By a vote of 216-214, the House of Representatives approved a budget reconciliation bill last week that establishes Feb. 17, 2009, as the end of analog television transmission in the United States.

The sweeping budget reconciliation bill, into which the DTV transition deadline was tucked, was on track to be passed in December 2005 before hitting a snag with some Senate Democrats who sought modifications. The House passed the modified version Feb. 1. The bill awaits President Bush’s signature.

The DTV portion of the legislation sets aside nearly $1 billion to subsidize the purchase of set-top digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Spectrum freed up from the analog TV shutoff is expected to generate $10 billion for the Treasury from auction to wireless service providers. A portion of the spectrum will be used to roll out an interoperable communications system for emergency first responders nationwide.

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