FCC Mulls Pulling Plug on Wilmington DTV Trial

9/05/2008 7:47 AM Eastern

Federal Communications Commission officials will decide no later than 2 p.m. ET Sunday whether to postpone the early digital television market transition test planned for Monday in Wilmington, N.C.

The community is in the path of Tropical Storm Hanna, which as of 10 a.m. ET Friday was expected to make landfall approximately 425 miles from Wilmington. The National Weather Service warns the storm could develop into a hurricane by the time it hits the East Coast on Saturday.

The FCC had promised the Wilmington community that it would alter the transition strategy if the city was threatened by such an event.

On a conference call with reporters late Friday, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he had a conference call Sept. 5 with broadcasters and community leaders. He said, "We're obviously watching the tropical storm very closely."

He added, "At this point, I think it's still going to end up taking place."

Currently, Martin and commissioner Michael Copps plan to be in Wilmington on Sept. 8, the planned transition date, for a media event.

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