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NAB Responds to Congress on Hard-Date Issue

NAB wrote to telecom leaders on Capitol Hill a few days ago, asking them not to put the wishes of a handful of major telecom firms over what's best for American TV viewers when it comes to that lingering hard date for an analog cut-off date of Dec. 31, 2006 (if the 85 percent local DTV penetration rule is fulfilled, which appears increasingly unlikely in most markets). The Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP) wrote to Congress asking that legislation aimed at "completing the DTV transition [come] as soon as possible."

While "local broadcasters are strongly supportive of efforts to bring this transition to a timely conclusion...we also agree with the many members of Congress who have expressed concern that a premature end to analog television would be terribly disruptive to millions of Americans. Our viewers are your constituents, and we believe that an overriding priority in ending this transition must be the protection of consumers against losing access to local television," according the NAB.
The trade group said broadcasters have invested billions of dollars and "risked the most" to complete the DTV transition. NAB said 87.54 percent of the 107 million U.S. TV households are in markets with five or more broadcasters now airing DTV, and that another 69.23 percent of all homes are in markets with eight or more broadcasters sending digital signals. "Moreover, the amount of high-definition television offered by broadcast networks and local TV stations has soared," NAB's letter states. "Clearly, local broadcasters have upheld our commitment to make digital television a reality." Stay tuned.