Sometime between 6:00 pm and midnight on Friday, June 12, television broadcasting will only be available as a digital signal, and those consumers with analog-only televisions will need a converter box or a subscription service such as cable or satelite TV to view programs.Sometime between 6:00 pm and midnight on Friday, June 12, television broadcasting will only be available as a digital signal, and those consumers with analog-only televisions will need a converter box or a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV to view programs.
Before I was elected to the House of Representatives, Congress passed legislation that established a goal of having 85% of American households equipped to receive digital television broadcasts by December 31, 2006. Unfortunately, it became clear that the federal government was unprepared to deliver this result and I voted with a majority of my colleagues to push this deadline back. Congress also established a digital-to-analog converter box program administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce that will partially subsidize consumer purchases of converter boxes. In addition, public education and outreach has attempted to ensure that Americans are prepared for the digital transition. The next deadline was set for February 18, 2009, but it was still found that too many people would be unprepared by that date. The final date is June 12, 2009.
Why is the nation transitioning to digital television? A key factor behind the digital transition is to reclaim a portion of the analog spectrum currently occupied by television broadcasters. Digital television uses radio frequency spectrum more efficiently than traditional analog television, thereby taking up less bandwidth. The goal of the FCC and Congress was to complete the transition so that the analog spectrum could be reclaimed and subsequently reallocated for other purposes.
Some of the analog spectrum has been auctioned off for commercial wireless services and some will be used for new public safety communications services. In addition, it is hoped that the revenue raised in the spectrum action will be returned to the U.S. Treasury, thereby contributing toward the federal budget.
If you or a friend or family member currently uses an analog only television there are a few things you can do to continue to watch programs. You can either buy a digital-to-analog converter box to hook up to an analog television set, buy a digital television, or subscribe to cable, satellite, or telephone company television services, which will likely provide for the conversion to it’s customers.
The digital-to-analog converter box program provides up to two forty-dollar coupons to requesting U.S. households. This coupon can still be requested by calling 1-888-DTV-2009. The last day to order these coupons is July 31, 2009. The coupon must be used within three months after issuance toward the purchase of a stand-alone device used solely for digital-to-analog conversion.
Coupons mailed to consumers will be accompanied by information listing approved box models and local (and online) retailers certified to participate in the converter box coupon program. Please note that households eligible for converter box coupons must have a United States Postal Service mailing address. Post office box addresses are not accepted unless the applicant is a resident of a rural area without home mail delivery.
For further information on the switch to digital television or for more information on digital-to-analog converter box coupons please visit www.dtv2009.gov or www.dtv.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009. For instructions on setting up a converter box, or other frequently asked questions, please go to http://www.dtvanswers.com/
If you have any other further questions please feel free to contact my Dayton district office at 937-225-2843 or 202-225-6465.