New legislation would allow Mexican border stations to continue analog broadcasts after DTV deadline

Rep. Hilda Solis, D-CA, has introduced legislation that would allow U.S. TV stations to continue to broadcast analog signals on the Mexican border for five years after Feb. 17, 2009.

The DTV Border Fix Act, Solis said, is necessary so that residents along the border who are slow to make the change and still receiving analog channels from Mexico can get local emergency alerts, news and weather from U.S stations.

Those border households aren’t generally cable or satellite subscribers, Solis said, and many use English as a second language. “Because of these challenges, these households are already difficult to educate about the DTV transition. With the added complication of ample analog Spanish-language programming originating in Mexico available in the border region after 2009, thousands of households in these border communities could be left behind in the DTV transition,“ Solis said.

She said the legislation takes into account various situations in which the FCC might have to prohibit continued analog transmissions. “Stations allowed to simulcast may not cause interference with other full-power stations or public-safety communications. In addition, if continued analog broadcasting interferes with the recovery and auction of spectrum, the FCC can refuse to allow the station to continue broadcasting in analog.”