Policy

Senate Staffers to Get DTV Briefing

5/13/2009 6:05 PM Eastern

The
Senate Commerce Committee will get its own digital-TV transition update.

According to sources on and off the Hill, staffers on both
the Republican and Democratic side will get an update on the status of the
similar to one provided the FCC at its public meeting Wednesday.

That will include a slide show by National Telecommunications
and Information Administration coupon-box program administrator Bernadette
McGuire-Rivera. Currently, there is enough money in the program to send out
coupons to everyone who asks for them, according to the agency, and if it
looked like there might not be, the agency is prepared to prioritize coupons
for the 3.3 million households Nielsen Media Research has said are unready for
the transition.

The Hill update is scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m.

The FCC said Wednesday that a total of 927 stations will be
pulling the plug on analog June 12, and conceded that despite their best
efforts to educate analog-only households, some screens will go dark.

The Senate Commerce briefing makes sense since it was
Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking member Kay Bailey
Hutchison who hammered out a compromise bill that moved the date from Feb. 17
to June 12. That move was in large part to insure that the NTIA
would have enough money and time to clear out a backlog of converter-box coupon
requests, which it has since done.

March