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DTV Transition Deadline may be Extended Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
ImageThe stimulus plan that President Obama has put forward would include $650 million toward the transition of all-digital national TV broadcasting.  This proposal, if it is approved, would mean postponing the February 17th cut-off deadline for analogue broadcasting in order to ensure there are no program outages for customers without the equipment to process the switch. Related to this news are the proposals of Senators and House representatives that the February 17th deadline be moved to June 12th.  This delay is sought mainly by Democrats who support Obama’s request that more time be given to consumers, particularly the poor and the elderly, to prevent broadcasting outages and signal loss.

The House is suggesting that the coupons being distributed to consumers to purchase converter boxes be given extended expiration dates, and that consumers with expired coupons be able to apply for new ones.  This coupon program is a $1.34 billion investment to ease the transition to digital programming, yet delays in sending out the coupons have caused a 2 million coupon waiting list.

Also within the proposed stimulus plan is $6 billion to upgrade and supply broadband Internet access to areas that are currently underserved, and $2 billion towards computer hardware and software for government agencies and schools.

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