Powell Aide Praises Congress on DTV


An aide to Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell Thursday endorsed a nonbinding resolution adopted by Congress that calls for a firm deadline to end the transition to digital television.

"With the substantial benefits that will flow to the public with the end of the DTV transition, including more spectrum for public safety and broadband deployment and billions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury, it is no surprise that Congress agrees that setting a firm deadline for the end of the transition is a priority,” said Jon Cody, Powell’s senior legal assistant.

Congress Wednesday approved a resolution calling for a new law next year designed to end the digital-TV transition as soon as Dec. 31, 2006. Current law allows the transition to run until 85% of TV households in a market have digital-reception equipment.

In Powell’s view, the 85% test could drag out the transition for many years and delay the recapture of valuable analog-TV spectrum. Powell has endorsed an FCC plan that would finish the transition Dec. 31, 2008.

The digital-TV resolution was attached to a bill overhauling the country's intelligence-gathering procedures as recommended by the national commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.