FCC Considers DTV After-Action Report

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According to the FCC, the DTV transition continues to go well. But
look for the commission to put out a report on just what went right and
what went wrong.

There are still about two dozen stations, mostly
VHFs, with reception issues that FCC engineers are working on, trying
various solutions including power increases and consumer outreach about
re-scanning TV's and converter boxes.

New Chairman Julius
Genachowksi praised that effort but echoed former acting Chairman
Michael Copps in saying the job was not yet done.

"We
understand there are some issues out there," Genachowski said. "We have
heard about V's. There will be others. The commission's doors will be
open to listening to broadcasters to make sure they have what they need
to reach their audience as effectively as possible."

But the vast
majority of stations have made the transition successfully, said the
FCC's Robert Ratcliffe, acting Media Bureau chief.

The calls to
the FCC help line continue to decrease, according to the FCC's Andrew
Martin, from 43,000 per day on average, for the week ending June 15, to
21,000 per day, for the week ending June 22, with that number
continuing to fall.

There has also been a drop in the number of
calls about reception problems, said Martin. They had been 30% of calls
and were now more like 20%.

Martin said NTIA continues to take
only 9-10 business days to fill requests for DTV-to-analog converter
box coupons despite a spike around June 12, the DTV hard date.

Former
acting Chairman Michael Copps had one word in response: "Whew!"
Actually, he had lots of words. While saying that the FCC could not
make up in four months what should have been done in four years, he
suggested the result of hard work and dedication and team work by
government and industry paid off.

But he also said the FCC
needed to compile a report on its experience to help future commissions
and conversions, something he wished he had had after Y2K.

Genachowski
agreed, saying he looked forward to hearing from the DTV transition
organizers about what went right, what went wrong, and "here is what we
learned to do better in the future."

And there will be a future. The commissioners pointed out that low-power stations have still to make the transition to digital.

The
chairman refined his praise to spotlight the cooperation on several
levels. Those included within the agency, with outside entities like
Americorp, and across government agencies. He spoke of the
collaboration and innovation that should be highlighted, leaving no
doubt that was the direction he wanted the FCC to move in all its
undertakings.

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