FCC to Study Who Is Broadcast-Only


The Federal Communications Commission is planning to issue a public notice soon seeking information on the number of TV households that rely solely on free, over-the-air broadcasting, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The agency is collecting information as part of a broader plan to map the end of the digital-TV transition, possibly by the end of 2008.

Broadcasters are required to give back their analog spectrum when 85% of households in a market have the capability to view local digital-TV signals. Consumers with analog TVs would lose off-air service if they didn’t have digital-to-analog converters.

FCC officials and key members of Congress are concerned that a policy terminating analog broadcasting on a specific date would be politically risky if it did not take into account the needs of consumers who have not purchased digital equipment.

Media Bureau chief Kenneth Ferree has designed a plan that would end analog broadcasting Dec. 31, 2008, and allow broadcasters to demand analog-cable carriage of their digital signals.