Tags: obama | digital | tv

Obama Administration Asks Delay in Digital TV Switch

Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 08:33 PM

WASHINGTON – US president-elect Barack Obama's transition team has asked for a delay in the nation's scheduled switch to digital television next month, citing funding difficulties.

The Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta has written to key US lawmakers asking for an extension to the February 17 legislatively-mandated analog cutoff date, according to copy of the letter made available to AFP.

Obama will take over from President George Bush on January 20.

Based on plans by the Bush administration, stations will cease their analog transmissions and broadcast only in digital form from February 17, requiring consumers who rely on over-the-air signals to install converter boxes.

Consumers are to be provided with a 40-dollar coupon to defray the cost of the converter but Podesta said the program to distribute the coupons "has run out of funds."

"During the transition, we have discovered major difficulties in the preparation for the February 17 conversion from analog to digital broadcasting," he said.

"These weaknesses mean major problems for consumers."

By early February projections suggested more than five million coupon requests would not be met, with the figure "increasing by hundreds of thousands every day," he said.

In addition, the funds provided to support the conversion are "woefully inadequate," he said, pointing out that particularly low income, rural and elderly Americans would be hit.

"With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively-mandated analog cutoff date," Podesta said in the letter to key legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives.

The US Congress reportedly allocated 1.34 billion dollars to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to distribute converter box coupons.

The switch to digital television will free up wireless airwaves for public safety agencies and other advanced mobile services.

An auction of those analog airwaves raised 19 billion dollars for the government last year, according to the the Washington Post.

Major American broadcasters have signaled that they support a delay.

"Our first concern is what's best for our viewers, and we believe that the Obama-Biden Transition Team shares our concern," media giant News Corporation said in a statement Thursday.

But the Consumer Electronics Association, an industry group, suggested keeping the February 17 transition date.

It said converter boxes were available in sufficient supply and consumers were aware of and prepared for the transition, but added legitimate concerns about the coupon program should be addressed immediately.

"If the goal is to avoid consumer confusion, keeping the February 17 transition date that is engrained in consumer minds is the best solution," said association president Gary Shapiro.

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

After Historic Balloon Journey, Crew Plans Landing Saturday

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 07:45 AM

Two pilots from the U.S. and Russia have traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to  . . .

GMO Mosquito Plan Sparks Debate in Florida

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 07:44 AM

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue  . . .

Obama Wants Congress to Fund $215M to Study Diseases

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 12:17 PM

Holding out the promise of major medical breakthroughs, President Barack Obama on Friday called on Congress to approve s . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved