TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Bush Wants to Revive Digital TV Fees

Bush Wants to Revive Digital TV Fees

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 8 Feb 2005 08:58:59 -0500

By Brooks Boliek

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - President Bush is attempting to
revive a plan that would require broadcasters to pay a $500 million
fee for use of their current analog TV channels in 2007.

The plan is part of the $2.57 trillion budget proposal Bush presented
to Congress on Monday. While Bush has pushed the plan in previous
budget proposals to no avail, it could see some action in the 109th
Congress as pressure is mounting to get broadcasters to make the
switch to digital TV.

In the past, broadcasters could depend on their allies in Congress to
kill the plan. But one of their key supporters, Rep. Billy Tauzin,
R-La., the former chairman of the House Commerce Committee, has
retired. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, runs the committee now, and he is
decidedly less friendly to the industry.

Currently, broadcasters are required to stop analog transmissions at
the end of 2006, or when 85% of the American TV viewing audience
receives a digital signal, whichever comes later. The 85% number has
long been considered an unreachable goal.

Last week, Barton warned broadcasters that he is out of patience,
telling reporters that he wants Congress to enact a "hard date" that
would force broadcasters to shut off their analog transmissions by
year's end. Proposals to stop analog broadcasts so the frequencies
can be auctioned off have become more appealing because of budgetary
pressure, Barton said.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Monty Solomon: "A U.S. First: Dish Network Offers Interactive Shopping Channel"
Go to Previous message: John Levine: "Re: Any Recommendations re: Economy Internet Phone Service?"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page