FCC Gearing Up For DTV Switch's Second Phase: Adelstein


The FCC is working on rules to implement the balance of the DTV transition date-move bill.
FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, speaking during an interview for C-SPAN's series, The Communicators, said the commission will come up with a plan for the next key date, March 14.
Although 641 stations have made the move to digital as of Feb. 17, over 1,000 have yet to make the transition.
Adelstein said that the FCC expects most of those will wait until June 12, but the commission needs to come up with a plan for those that want to move earlier, beginning March 14. That's the next day when stations can pull the analog plug.
"We're going to be releasing a notice right away, we're working on it today," he said. 'We're trying to figure out what the interim switch is."
An aide to acting FCC chairman Michael Copps has said that stations may be allowed to go on different dates, or the FCC might suggest an intermediary date to help out with call center planning.
"We want to make sure that there is adequate notice to consumers," of the next analog plug-pull, said Adelstein, "We want to make sure that there is a continued nightlight for viewers to get basic news and local information as well as information about the digital transition on an analog station.
"It's going to be an ongoing switch to some extent," the commissioner said, "but we still expect that the big bulk of stations are going on June 12."
Adelstein also said the FCC was planning to set up walk-in centers in every market in the country to help viewers with technical problems, and also have either volunteers or paid staff provide in-home help.