TV Tower Group Lobbies Against DTV Delay


industry that builds and maintains broadcast TV towers is urging Congress to
stick with the long-planned digital TV transition on Feb. 17.

"I am writing today to emphasize that the livelihoods of small businesses
nationwide, and their employees, depend on plans that have been made around the
Feb. 17 DTV transition," said Patrick Howley, executive director of the
National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), in a letter Thursday to Rep. Joe
Barton (R-Texas).

House and Senate bills pending formal introduction would move the transition date
back 115 days, to June 12.

NATE's members that have contracts to perform work on Feb. 17 would lose
money and might have to lay off workers if transition is postponed, Howley

"For years, leases on tower space and special broadcast operations have
been scheduled around the February 2009 analog sunset," Howley said.
"By delaying the transition further, many more millions of dollars will be
wasted in unnecessary additional costs while simultaneously damaging our
industry and increasing the potential for job losses in an already fragile

Barton, the most senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
is leading the opposition on Capitol Hill to a delay, saying problems with
the Commerce Department's $1.34 billion converter box coupon program can
be readily fixed.

"Don't allow this delay to happen," Howley told Barton. "Please
fix the coupon issue and continue with the transition."