Members of the House Committee of Energy and Commerce have appealed to the Federal Communications Commission for a stronger educational effort on the digital transition, targeting Hispanics living 50 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
A similar request letter was also sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Spanish-speakers along the border watch television originating both in Mexico and the U.S., according to the letter, but the Mexican stations will not be converting to digital signals. The legislators, including Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) want an educational effort to stress the fact TV viewers must tune only to U.S. stations after Feb. 17 in order to get emergency information such as the warnings telecast recently in Texas concerning Hurricane Ike.
Bills in both the House and Senate attempted to address this issue this year. A House version would have allowed stations located within 50 miles of the U.S.-Canada border to broadcast in analog for five more years.
That bill, introduced by Solis, was not addressed by the House, according to supporters of an informational effort. A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, (R-TX) was passed by the Senate.