TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Senate Bill Sets Spring 2009 Demise for Analog Television

Senate Bill Sets Spring 2009 Demise for Analog Television

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 17 Oct 2005 01:22:21 -0400

By Arshad Mohammed
Washington Post Staff Writer

Senate Commerce Committee staffers have drafted a bill setting April
7, 2009 -- the day after March Madness ends -- as the date to end
nationwide analog TV broadcasts and complete the switch to digital

Millions of people who watch traditional, over-the-air analog
broadcasts on sets with antennas will have to buy new digital TVs or
set-top converter boxes to keep getting signals.

Congressional aides said they settled on the deadline -- which falls
one day after the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball championships -- so
as not to cut off any TV viewers at the height of the popular college
basketball tournament.

Aides also said they hoped to give consumers plenty of time to buy new
sets and are making plans to offer a federal subsidy of undetermined
size to help people afford converter boxes.

Ending analog broadcasts, which have brought everything from "I Love
Lucy" to NFL Football into living rooms for decades, will free up
spectrum already set aside to improve police, firefighter and other
emergency communications.

It will also bring a windfall in federal revenue by allowing the
government to auction off spectrum to private companies who hope to
exploit it for wireless Internet access and other high-tech uses.

In a letter yesterday, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and 30
other executives urged Congress to set a deadline quickly and argued
it will be a boon to the economy.

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