Tower Builders Say Stick to DTV Deadline

The group that represents TV tower builders is urging Congress to keep the Feb. 17 DTV transition deadline. The National Association of Tower Erectors in Watertown, S.D. issued a statement this week saying that moving the deadline could “have detrimental effects” on companies that build TV towers.

“The livelihoods of small businesses nationwide and their employees depend on plans that have been made around the Feb. 17, 2009 DTV transition,” NATE chairman Don Doty said. “For years, leases on tower space and special broadcast operations have been scheduled around the February 2009 analog sunset. By delaying the transition further, many millions of dollars will be wasted in unnecessary additional costs while simultaneously damaging our industry and increasing the potential for job losses in an already fragile economy.”

Doty said tower companies suffered the first time Congress moved the deadline from Dec. 31, 2006, to the current date of Feb. 17, 2009.

“Throughout our industry, specially trained laborers, technicians, and project managers lost their jobs,” he wrote.

“The industry feels that this conversion can be completed safely with the ample time that remains before the Feb. 17 deadline. During these difficult economic times, an action to postpone this deadline would create more financial stress and uncertainty, while doing significant--and avoidable--harm to the many small businesses that provide essential supplies, materials, equipment and labor to the television broadcasters.

“The transition has been carefully planned for years. Congress mandated this change and broadcasters have responded. Now is not the time to second guess the plans that have been made, plans that hardworking small businesses have staked their livelihood on.”