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T-Minus 1: FCC Issues Preemptive We Told You So

WASHINGTON: The FCC’s final daily countdown missive before tomorrow’s DTV transition makes a point of ballyhooing the fabulousity of the new system. Better picture and sound and more channels and all that. Then it goes into what’s necessary to get these most miraculous of new television signals for the roughly 2.8 million U.S. households at risk of losing TV reception tomorrow.

“Those households include low-income families, senior citizens, minority and non-English speaking households and people with disabilities,” the FCC stated. Michael Copps, acting chairman of the commission, said there was bound to be disruptions.

“We are trying our best to provide people, especially those who are most at-risk, with the help they need to make the switch as smoothly as possible,” he said.

The T-minus-one release from the FCC listed the agency’s efforts to notify the public about the DTV transition, in case they take up muskets tomorrow. These include its participation in setting up 600 walk-in help centers around the country; assistance for the deaf and blind; a squad of volunteers ready to hook-up converter boxes, of which they have already connected 200,000. The FCC said it also had 57 fire departments volunteering for converter installs, plus AmeriCorps members doing likewise in 30 markets.

The DTV helpline--1888-CALL-FCC--is now active 24/7, with 4,000 operators standing by. DTV converter-box coupon applications will remain available while supplies last through July 31 at www.dtv2009.gov