A key element to a successful DTV transition will be rapidly identifying those who miss out, and restoring their television service ASAP. The analog extension bill just passed by the Senate will get pertinent information precisely to the citizens who missed the DTV boat. If seconded by the House and signed at the White House, the bill would enable analog signals to continue on past the deadline, with instructions and directions to sources of help for those left behind. This was a significant and beneficial feature of the Wilmington NC DTV preview in September.
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) had a hand in shepherding the "Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness Act" (S. 3663) through the Senate. Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) has similar legislation pending in the House. The measure has the full endorsement of the NAB Television Board.
“This bill will provide an important safety net to Americans during the digital television transition,” said Hutchison. “By allowing information to be broadcast for 30 days after the transition takes place, consumers who do not yet receive digital television signals will have access to important public safety announcements and information during a critical time period after the transition date.”
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "Coupled with our billion dollar campaign to educate Americans on the digital TV transition, this timely legislation will give broadcasters one final resource to ensure that no TV viewer is left behind due to insufficient information. We applaud Sen. Rockefeller and his colleagues, and encourage House lawmakers to adopt similar legislation offered by Rep. Capps."
RBR/TVBR observation: This is as no-brain as no-brainers get. The best place to put remedial instructions for the tardy and inattentive is exactly where they will be looking. And it’s not like new uses of the abandoned spectrum are going to be ready to throw their own switches on 2/18/09. We suspect the House and White House will put this major DTV insurance policy in place in short order.